NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, has
awarded a contract to Johns Hopkins University’s Applied
Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD, for assigned research,
design, development, mission operations and related
technology development as part of the agency’s Sun-Earth
Connection, Living With a Star (LWS) and Solar Terrestrial
Probes (STP) programs.

The cost-plus-fixed-fee, 12-year contract has a maximum
estimated value of $600 million.

The Sun, the astronomical object most significant to
humanity, affects the entire geospace region. Because of the
consequences to the Earth of the Sun’s dynamic behavior and
the rapidly expanding utilization of the geospace region for
human activities, a thorough understanding of the Sun’s
effects has become essential.

The Solar Terrestrial Probes program is a continuous sequence
of flexible, cost-capped missions designed to study the Sun-
Earth connection. STP missions will obtain information to
answer two fundamental questions: how and why does the Sun
vary, and how do the Earth and planets respond? NASA plans
to begin this unprecedented study of the Sun and its
influence on Earth with the launch of the Thermosphere
Ionosphere Mesophere, Energetics and Dynamics (TIMED) mission
later this year.

The Living With a Star program will allow comprehensive study
of the cause-and-effect relationships between events at the
Sun and their effects in geospace that influence life on
Earth and humanity’s technological systems. The LWS program
will employ a series of spacecraft — ranging from large and
sophisticated observatories to observe the Sun and track
disturbances originating there, to constellations of small
satellites located in key regions around the Earth to measure
downstream effects.

Living With a Star will quantify the physics, dynamics and
behavior of the Sun-Earth system over the 11-year solar cycle
and improve understanding of the effects on terrestrial
climate change of solar variability and disturbances. It will
also provide data and scientific understanding required for
advance warning of energetic-particle events that affect
human safety. In addition, LWS will give scientists a
detailed characterization of radiation environments useful in
the design of more reliable electronic components for air and
space transportation systems.

The work will be performed at Johns Hopkins University
Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, MD, as well as selected
contractor facilities.

Living with a Star is part of the Sun-Earth Connection theme
within the Office of Space Science at NASA Headquarters in
Washington, DC. Goddard Space Flight Center manages the LWS
program for NASA.

More information on the LWS initiative can be found at: