MSX Observations of the Solar System

S.D. Price (AFRL), L.J. Paxton (APL), E.F. Tedesco (MRC), R.G. Walker (VRI)

The Midcourse Space Experiment (MSX) is a Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) spacecraft launched in April 1996 (see Mill, et al., 1994 for a review of the spacecraft, its instruments and scientific objectives and Price, et al., 1996, for a description of the astronomy experiments). MSX is a multiple objective experiment one of which is to measure the general nature and the detailed character of the celestial background. This effort is carried out by the MSX Celestial Backgrounds Team (cf., http://www.mrcnh.com/msx/CB/index.htm) The spacecraft carries a suite of telescopes capable of observing simultaneously in wavebands ranging from the ultraviolet to the infrared. The wide range of astronomy objectives include observations of solar sytem objects. The objects observed include the Moon, asteroids, comets, and the zodiacal cloud. The series of papers following describe these in greater detail. In this presentation we will give an overview of the sensors used to obtain these data sets and discuss the observations currently being carried out with the ultraviolet and visual imagers and spectrographic imagers.


Mill, J. D., et al., 1994, J. Spacecraft and Rockets, 31, p. 900.

Price, S.D., et al., 1996, Bull. American Astron. Soc., 189, 51.02