IMP In Space


IMP-8 Banner Image

Overview: Fundamental Technologies, LLC, provides data products for the Charged Particle Measurement Experiment (CPME) on board the IMP-8 spacecraft. The CPME has two major components, the Proton-Electron Telescope (PET) and five thin-window Geiger-Mueller (GM) tubes. The PET measures and identifies electrons, protons, alpha particles, M-nuclei, and Fe-group nuclei. The GM array measures both solar X-rays and the more intense galactic X-ray sources.


Mission Background: IMP-8 (IMP J/ Explorer 50), the last satellite of the IMP series, was launched by NASA on Oct. 26, 1973. The IMP-8 spacecraft was designed to measure magnetic fields, plasmas, and energetic charged particles of the Earth's magnetotail and magnetosheath and the near-Earth solar wind. IMP-8 has lived long past its life expectancy of ten years of operation; after 45+ years of operation in space, it is still functioning to this day.


Scientific Payload:


MAG The geomagnetic tail, interplanetary medium, & boundary magnetic fields
GAF DC electric fields in the solar wind and magnetosheath
IIOF Magnetic field measurements
LAP Ion and electron distributions
IOE Fluxes of ions and electrons
PLA Positive ions & electrons in the magnetotail, transition region, & solar wind
EPE Fluxes of ions in energy channels from 0.05-0.30 MeV to 2.1-4.5 MeV
EECA Energy per charge of incident ions between 100 and 1000 KeV/q
CPME Proton fluxes from 0.29 to 140 MeV, & alpha particles from 0.64-52 MeV
GME Fluxes/elemental identification for protons, alpha particles, and heavy ions
CAI Composition and spectra measurements of galactic and solar cosmic rays
CHE Nuclei, electrons, protons, and alpha particles of varying energy ranges


Additional information at Fundamental Technologies, LLC:

Updated 8/8/19, Cameron Crane


Mission Duration: Although only 10 years were originally expected for the lifetime of the IMP-8 spacecraft, it is still operational after 45+ years.

Destination: The IMP-8 spacecraft spends roughly half of its 12-day orbit in solar winds, with the other half spent studying the magnetosphere and magnetosheath of Earth.

Orbit: The IMP-8 spacecraft orbits in a geocentric elliptical orbit with an inclination varying from 0 to 55 degrees.