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NASA Logo Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe
NASA Logo, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

WMAP Timeline

1995 WMAP Proposed to NASA
1996 WMAP Approved for Definition Study
1997 WMAP Approved for Development
30 June 2001 WMAP Launch Rocket Launch 15:46:46 EDT on June 30, 2001 aboard a Delta II-7425-10 (no. 286) launch vehicle.
10 August 2001 WMAP Arrives at L2 Following a three month journey, WMAP arrived safely at its permanent observing station near the L2 Lagrange Point, a quasi-stable position 1.5 million km from Earth in the direction opposite the Sun.
April 2002 WMAP Covers the Full Sky WMAP completed its first full sky observations.
1 July 2002 One Year Team Celebration One Year! WMAP completes first year of flight.
August 2002 One Year at L2 Second full sky scan completed. More data are collected as WMAP continues to orbit the sun.

11 February 2003 LAMBDA A release based on the initial full sky data. The data is archived and distributed via NASA's new Legacy Archive for Microwave Background Data Analysis (LAMBDA). Press Release

The MAP Spacecraft is renamed WMAP in honor of David T. Wilkinson.

August 2003 Two Years at L2 Fourth full sky scan completed. More data are collected as WMAP continues to orbit the sun.
August 2004 Three years at L2 The WMAP observatory continues to operate flawlessly.
March 2005 WMAP Science Impact Two of the WMAP first-year papers were listed as the two most highly cited papers in all of space science.
August 2005 Four years at L2 The WMAP observatory continues to operate flawlessly. The first-year data release contained the prime results of the mission. NASA declared WMAP a success in meeting its "level 1" requirements. WMAP first-year scientific papers were listed 13 times as the "Hot Paper in Physics".
16 March 2006 Second Data Release While the first-year results were based mainly on temperature measurements, the continued mission operations are now primarily focused on the much weaker polarized signals - an invaluable "stretch" goal of the extended mission. Analyses of these weaker signals are more difficult. The calibration and systematic error analyses have been completed, and the data files have been documented for use by researchers. For an overview see Results. - Press Release
March 2008 Third Data Release Five-year results reveal more "stretch" goals of the extended mission. For an overview see Results.
26 January 2010 Fourth Data Release Seven-year results reveal more about polarization, dark energy, and tighter limits on the cosmological model. For an overview see Results.
19 August 2010 WMAP Ceases Science Operations WMAP ended the collection of science data on this day. The final two years of data will be analyzed and published in approximately two years with the final funding we have received. See the NASA press release.
28 October 2010 WMAP Ceases Communications WMAP received its last command this afternoon. The spacecraft will remain in observing mode - collecting data in silence - for as long as the battery holds up. It will orbit the Sun out beyond L2, where it will be a new object for small body astronomers to find. Fare thee well WMAP.
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  • Page Updated: Monday, 12-27-2010