WASHINGTON—In the scramble to point every available instrument at the recently discovered supernova in the Large Magellanic Cloud, NASA plans a campaign of balloon flights, rocket launches and airborne observations to begin next month.

The crash program, if approved by NASA Administrator James Fletcher, will cost $15 million. It will include 16 or 17 instrumented balloon flights extending through late next year, as well as sounding rocket flights and infrared observations using NASA's Kuiper Airborne Observatory (KAO). The space agency also plans to conduct Very Long Baseline Interferometry radio measurements to measure directly the size of the supernova's expanding shell.

Within a week of the discovery of SN1987A on February 24, NASA issued a "Dear Colleague" letter calling for gamma-ray and X-ray instruments that could be readied quickly for balloon or rocket flights. Three gamma-ray experiments already have been chosen for balloon flights in April and May, and a peer...

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