Spacecraft and components manufacturer Ball Aerospace has announced that Nasa’s Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer (SPHEREx) completed the preliminary design review (PDR).

As part of the SPHEREx mission, Ball is developing the spacecraft, telescope, system integration and test. It has also supported the PDR.

The company is also helping with the integration of the spacecraft with the launch vehicle and commissioning after launch.

Ball Aerospace civil space vice-president and general manager Dr Makenzie Lystrup said: “This latest programme milestone is an important step forward in realising Nasa’s mission to peer into the history of the universe.

“Ball has a long heritage of delivering new and innovative solutions for tomorrow’s science questions, partnering with our customers and the science community to provide science at any scale.”

The SPHEREx mission is designed to survey the sky in optical and near-infrared light to understand the nature of cosmic.

Nasa Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is the managing centre and Dr James Bock from California Institute of Technology (Caltech) serves as the principal investigator for the mission.

Following the completion of the PDR, the SPHEREx project is now moving ahead with critical design review.

The project team, in coordination with Nasa, will complete the Key Decision Point C process before the commencement of the implementation phase.

Planned for two years, the $242m mission is expected for launch in 2023.

In August, Ball Aerospace completed airborne science flights of two compact instruments built for Nasa’s Sustained Land Imaging (SLI) Technology development programme.