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The Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) is a NASA MIDEX class mission designed to probe the conditions present in the early universe. The goals of WMAP are to: (1) determine the values of the cosmological parameters of the Big Bang theory; (2) examine how structures of galaxies formed in the universe; and, (3) ascertain when the first structures of galaxies formed. In order to address these goals, WMAP measures the temperature differences (anisotropies) in the cosmic microwave background radiation over the entire sky.

WMAP observes the sky from a controlled Lissajous orbit about the L2 Sun-Earth Lagrange point, 1.5 million km from Earth.

Alternate Names

  • 26859
  • Explorer 80
  • MAP
  • MAP
  • Microwave Anisotropy Probe
  • Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2001-06-30
Launch Vehicle: Delta II
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States
Mass: 840 kg
Nominal Power: 419 W

Funding Agency

  • NASA-Office of Space Science (United States)


  • Astronomy

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. Charles L. BennettMission Principal InvestigatorNASA Goddard Space Flight

US Active Archive for WMAP Information/Data

The WMAP Archive at LAMBDA

Other Sources of WMAP Information/Data

WMAP Project

Explorers Program

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