Boeing Delta II Rocket to Help NASA Map the Universe

29 June 2001

A Boeing Delta II rocket is set to thunder into space to help NASA seek answers to some fundamental questions about the universe.

The Delta II will launch the Microwave Anisotropy Probe (MAP) from Space Launch Complex 17B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, on June 30 at 3:46:46 p.m. EDT. The launch window will last 12 minutes. To accommodate the payload requirements, Boeing will use a 10-foot composite fairing on a three-stage rocket for the very first time.

The MAP mission is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Its goal is to address five fundamental questions in cosmology: 1. Will the universe expand forever or will it eventually collapse? 2. Is the universe dominated by exotic dark matter? 3. What is the shape of the universe? 4. How and when did the first galaxies form? 5. Is the expansion of the universe accelerating? To answer these questions MAP will produce an accurate full-sky map of the cosmic microwave background temperature fluctuations with high sensitivity and angular resolution.

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