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STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory) mission designers determined that the most efficient and cost-effective way to get the twin observatories into space was to launch them aboard a single rocket and use lunar swingbys to place them into their respective orbits. This is the first time lunar swingbys have been used to manipulate orbits of more than one spacecraft. Mission designers will use the moon's gravity to redirect the observatories to their appropriate orbits--something the launch vehicle alone can't do.
Electromagnetic interference equipmentSTEREO technicians at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), in Laurel, Md., secure special electromagnetic interference equipment on the STEREO "B" observatory being built at APL. These devices, installed on both STEREO observatories, help protect a spacecraft's electrical equipment from any electromagnetic disturbances that might degrade performance.
STEREO "B" is the observatory that will be placed behind Earth in its orbit around the sun.