28 June 2013
NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) solar observatory began its mission Thursday after a 13-minute ride into orbit aboard an Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL rocket that was dropped from a specially modified aircraft. The mission team made initial contact with IRIS through the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System and received confirmation of separation and the unfurling of the spacecraft’s solar panels.  IRIS is a NASA Small Explorer Mission which will investigate the sun's lower atmosphere in unprecedented detail. (Image Credit: NASA)
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