From the Sun to Pluto and Beyond
Johns Hopkins APL’s Civil Space Mission Area makes critical contributions to NASA and international missions to meet the challenges of space science, engineering, and exploration.
Since the dawn of the Space Age, APL has pushed the frontiers of space science, engineering and exploration. We captured the first picture of Earth from space, invented navigation by satellite, dispatched spacecraft across the solar system from our Sun to Pluto and beyond, and successfully conducted the world’s first full-scale planetary defense test mission.
We continue to shape the future by providing our nation with innovative and low-cost solutions to its space challenges. Our work includes conducting research and space exploration; development and application of space science, engineering, and technology; and production of one-of-a-kind spacecraft, instruments, and subsystems.
DragonflyDragonfly is a NASA mission that will explore Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. Led by APL, this revolutionary rotorcraft-lander expedition will study the atmosphere, carbon-based chemistry, and geology of this cold yet Earthlike moon and ultimately advance our understanding of life’s chemical origins.
Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP)Set to launch in 2025, NASA’s Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP) mission will help researchers better understand what happens at the boundary of the heliosphere, where the Sun’s protective magnetic field ends.
Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART)NASA’s first planetary defense mission—the APL-led Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART)—is the first mission to demonstrate what’s known as the kinetic impactor technique, which involves striking an asteroid to shift its orbit and deflect it from Earth.
Mar 24, 2023
Dragonfly Team Soars Through Major Design ReviewBefore it can fly its revolutionary rotorcraft over the organic dunes of Saturn’s moon Titan, NASA’s Dragonfly team needs to navigate several independent reviews to demonstrate the flight project is on track. Led by Johns Hopkins APL, the team recently passed the first of those evaluations, the Preliminary Design Review.
Mar 16, 2023
Two of Uranus’ Moons May Harbor Active Oceans, Radiation Data SuggestsNew research using Voyager 2’s nearly 40-year-old particle data from Uranus suggests at least one of the planet’s moons is actively spewing material into the nearby space environment, possibly from a liquid water ocean beneath the surface.
Mar 9, 2023
DART Team Earns National Space Club and Foundation Aerospace AwardFor completing the world’s first planetary defense test mission and its significant impact on the aerospace field, the team behind NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission will receive the National Space Club and Foundation’s 2023 Nelson P. Jackson Aerospace Award.