PUNCH has passed its Critical Design Review, a major milestone in the course of the mission. The three-day design review was a hybrid
meeting, held in person at SwRI headquarters in San Antonio, TX, March 1-3. The team presented current mission design, and fabrication,
integration, and test plans, to representatives from NASA and from the mission’s independent Standing Review Board. This was the first
mission milestone meeting to be held in-person, since the initial Phase B kickoff meeting held in 2019 immediately after selection.
The mission is currently engaged in a replan exercise to accommodate a ride-share flight with the SPHEREx mission, scheduled to launch in
FY2025. The standard NASA CDR milestone is therefore split between a “technical” CDR to cover design and technical readiness, and a
“programmatic” CDR to cover cost and schedule feasibility. The programmatic CDR will occur later in the spring.
Passing the technical CDR milestone enables the mission to proceed with fabrication and test of flight hardware for the four spacecraft and