A

David

Darling

SMEX (Small Explorer)

SMEX (Small Explorer) is a series of low-cost (less than $120 million to develop, launch, and operate) satellites launched by NASA for solar and astronomical studies. The first six spacecraft in the series were SAMPEX (Solar Anomalous and Magnetospheric Particle Explorer) launched in Jul 1992, FAST (Fast Auroral Snapshot Explorer) launched in Aug 1996, TRACE (Transition Region and Coronal Explorer) launched in Apr 1998, SWAS (Submillimeter Wave Astronomy Satellite) launched in Dec 1998, HESSI launched in Feb 2002, and GALEX (Galaxy Explorer) in Apr 2003. The next SMEX mission will be AIM (Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesophere), which is scheduled for launch in Sep 2006.