- Press Release
- Feb 1, 2023
This Week at NASA: Closet Spacecraft Formation Flying, Mars and More
The four spacecraft orbiting Earth in formation as part of NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale, or MMS, mission achieved a new record recently when the space between them was decreased from just over six miles to only four-and-a-half miles.
This is the closest separation ever of any multi-spacecraft formation. The team of spacecraft fly in a pyramid shape, called a tetrahedron, which enables MMS to capture three-dimensional observations of magnetic reconnection – a mysterious phenomenon, during which magnetic fields experience explosive interactions. The closer formation will allow the spacecraft to measure magnetic reconnection at smaller scales, helping scientists to better understand it. Also, Destination Mars Exhibit, Orbital ATK Targets Launch Window, NASA-developed Technology Saves Pilot’s Life, and Combined Federal Campaign Underway.