The UK's Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL) has won a $120,000, 100-day, Magnetosphere Multiscale Mission (MMS) study contract to investigate the range of suitable concepts for a five-spacecraft mission to study the Earth's magnetosphere.

Planned for launch in 2005, the five-spacecraft MMS fleet will involve formation flying and two lunar swing-bys from gravity-assisted flightpath alterations over two years. The mission will investigate the interaction of the Earth's magnetic field with the solar wind.

The contract follows the selection of SSTL's 350kg (770lb) mini-satellite platform for potential use with the NASA RAPID II programme. Meanwhile, SSTL's 65kg UoSat 2 has passed 16 years in orbit, providing digital store-and-forward communications.

Source: Flight International