Saturday, June 2, 2012

X-Ray Space Telescope Readies for Launch in June

NASA Preparing to Launch Its Newest X-Ray Eyes

ScienceDaily (May 31, 2012) — NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, is being prepared for the final journey to its launch pad on Kwajalein Atoll in the central Pacific Ocean. The mission will study everything from massive black holes to our own sun. It is scheduled to launch no earlier than June 13.

"We will see the hottest, densest and most energetic objects with a fundamentally new, high-energy X-ray telescope that can obtain much deeper and crisper images than before," said Fiona Harrison, the NuSTAR principal investigator at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., who first conceived of the mission 20 years ago.



NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, has a complex set of mirrors, or optics, that will help it see high-energy X-ray light in greater detail than ever before. These images show different views of one of two optic units onboard NuSTAR, each consisting of 133 nested cylindrical mirror shells as thin as a fingernail. The mirrors are arranged in this way in order to focus as much X-ray light as possible. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
 The observatory is perched atop an Orbital Sciences Corporation Pegasus XL rocket. If the mission passes its Flight Readiness Review on June 1, the rocket will be strapped to the bottom of an aircraft, the L-1011 Stargazer, also operated by Orbital, on June 2. The Stargazer is scheduled to fly from Vandenberg Air Force Base in central California to Kwajalein on June 5 to 6.
After taking off on launch day, the Stargazer will drop the rocket around 8:30 a.m. PDT (11:30 a.m. EDT). The rocket will then ignite and carry NuSTAR to a low orbit around Earth.
MORE: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120531135424.htm

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3 comments:

  1. Thanks for the nice & informative write up ! I will keep this in mind!
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  2. Thanks for the nice & informative write up ! I will keep this in mind!
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