Receiver, Focal Plane Array, WMAP Satelite Engineering Model

Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

This Structural Thermal engineering model of the receiver box for the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) satellite contains flight and flight-like parts, reconstructed and reassembled for display.

In the early 1990s the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellitediscovered tiny temperature fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background radiation field left over from the infant universe. Scientists from Princeton University and elsewhere worked with NASA to develop a new satellite to observe these fluctuations with much greater sensitivity. WMAP launched on 30 June 2001. After a year of gathering data, it produced the first highly detailed full sky view of the thermal structure of the universe from some 13.7 billion years ago. The view provided a precise age of the Universe, an accurate census of the material in the universe, and information on the amount of a mysterious "dark energy" that dominates the present day universe.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center transferred this engineering model to the museum.