WMAP (Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe)


Display Status:

This object is on display in the Explore the Universe exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

Collection Item Summary:

This is the reconstructed full-scale model of the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP). The object contains flight and flight-like parts, reconstructed and reassembled for display. Three of the four reflector elements in this array are flight backups and one is a mock-up. The framework is the original structural thermal engineering model of the receiver box for WMAP. It contains the waveguides and detectors for the WMAP satellite that were fed by the two oppositely directed telescopes. The black anodized skeletal support is non-flight. Some walls and covers have been removed and replaced by clear plastic for display. Prominent above the receiver box are the two oppositely directed microwave cololector dishes (T20060032000). These 1.4 by 1.6 meter diameter dishes were large enough to achieve the angular resolution needed to discriminate between various cosmological models. They reflect energy into ice-cream-cone shaped feeds that direct the radiation into 10 passively cooled microwave radiometers operating between 20 and 100 GHz. The display does not include a disk-shaped thermal reflector system seen in images of the deployed flight object.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Credit Line

Transferred from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.


Aluminum and mixed metal framing, thermal insulation, electronic detectors, mixed microwave electronics.


Overall: 10 ft long x 5 ft deep x 12 ft 1 in. tall, 480 lb. (304.8 x 152.4 x 368.3cm, 217.7kg)

Country of Origin

United States of America


MODELS-Unmanned Spacecraft & Parts

Inventory Number