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NASA cancels space science mission
Posted: Wed, Jun 4, 2003, 10:56 AM ET (1456 GMT)
NASA has cancelled a small space science mission because of concerns about the performance of its main instrument, Space News reported in its print edition this week. NASA decided May 20 to cancel the Spectroscopy and Photometry of the IGMs Diffuse Radiation (SPIDR) mission after determining that the spacecraft’s main instrument would not be as sensitive as advertised. NASA selected the $89-million spacecraft last July as one of two new Small Explorer (SMEX) missions. SPIDR was designed to map concentrations of extremely hot gas located in filaments between galaxies; astronomers hypothesize that this gas may constitute some of dark matter thought to exist in the universe. The spacecraft was scheduled for launch on a Pegasus XL in 2005. Boston University professor Supriya Chakrabarti, principal investigator for SPIDR, expressed his disappointment in NASA's decision in a statement provided to Space News, but added that he hoped to "demonstrate the soundness of the concept in the near future."
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