From the dawn of the Space Age and the establishment of NASA, an Interstellar Probe mission has a topic of fascination and discussion. The remarkable science opportunities that arise from such a mission have fueled the space science community for almost six decades, and led to multiple international studies.
A team led by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) is shaping the latest and most detailed of these concepts, a trade study of a realistic mission architecture that includes available (or soon-to-be available) launch vehicles, kick stages, operations concepts and reliability standards. The trade study would serve as a useful reference for science and technology definition team. APL's work has been aided by nearly 200 professional scientists and engineers worldwide, and supplemented by the creative efforts of authors, filmmakers and other visionaries – all in pursuit of interstellar space exploration.