The Thermosphere•Ionosphere•Mesosphere•Energetics and Dynamics (TIMED) program is developed by The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) for NASA as NASA's first Solar Terrestrial Probe mission in the Solar Connections program. It was successfully launched into its desired orbit on December, 7, 2001 and started its prime science mission in January 2002. TIMED employs four remote sensing instruments designed to provide measurements needed to characterize the temperature, density, and wind structures of the Earth's atmosphere extending from 60 to 180 kilometers and to understand the processes controlling the region's energy balance. TIMED is a low-cost mission and its spacecraft was designed with a high degree of autonomy to enable inexpensive Mission Operations using a relatively small Mission Operations Team. The keys to enabling this cost savings are the decoupled instrument operations approach based on real-time GPS navigation and event based
instrument commanding on board the spacecraft. This paper provides an overview of the TIMED mission, mission architecture, spacecraft and ground system design. The focus of this discussion will be on cost reduction efforts, especially those related to advanced technology and the enabling concept of decoupled mission operations.