Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. – Inside a processing facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, technicians assist as a crane lowers the wing closer for a fit check with the Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL launch vehicle.
NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, spacecraft will launch aboard the Pegasus XL in late 2012. IRIS will open a new window of discovery by tracing the flow of energy and plasma through the chromospheres and transition region into the sun’s corona using spectrometry and imaging. IRIS fills a crucial gap in our ability to advance studies of the sun-to-Earth connection by tracing the flow of energy and plasma through the foundation of the corona and heliosphere, or region around the sun. Photo credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin