SPHEREx – Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer


NASA’s SPHEREx is a Medium-class Explorer mission, part of NASA’s Astrophysics Explorers Program, and will be the first near-infrared all-sky spectral survey. The mission will enable astronomers to fill spectral data gaps and learn more about our cosmic history, complementing other missions such as the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

Dr. James Bock of the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) is the principal investigator for SPHEREx and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is the managing center.

SPHEREx Will Explore the Origins of the Universe

SPHEREx will study the cosmic origins of the universe, galaxies and water in planetary systems. During its two-year mission, SPHEREx will survey the entire sky in optical and near-infrared light.

The data from SPHEREx’s survey will be used to study:

  • The nature of physics that drove cosmic inflation in the early universe;

  • The properties of interstellar ices, a key reservoir for water and biogenic material in the early phases of star and planet formation; and

  • The cosmic history of galaxy formation.

By surveying hundreds of millions of galaxies and stars, SPHEREx will help astronomers understand how our universe evolved while studying the abundance of the ingredients for life in our Milky Way galaxy’s planetary systems.


What we’re doing

Ball Aerospace will deliver the SPHEREx spacecraft bus, which is based on our customizable and reliable line of Ball Configurable Platform (BCP) spacecraft. The SPHEREx bus will be a BCP-small spacecraft. BCP spacecraft have consistently exceeded their estimated design lifetimes. Designed for flexible, cost-effective applications, BCP spacecraft ensure maximum capability and rapid delivery timelines.

Ball is also responsible for system integration and test, support for integration of the spacecraft onto a launch vehicle and commissioning of the spacecraft after launch.
Ball Aerospace has an extensive heritage with NASA science and exploration missions. This strong history informs our technology development and enables us to provide science at any scale.

SPHEREx team at Ball Aerospace

Hear from the Ball Aerospace SPHEREx team on why they enjoy working on the mission.