IXPE nearing shipment to Florida for December 2021 launch

The launch of the Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) observatory is now targeting December 13, 2021, onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The IXPE X-Ray observatory is the latest spacecraft in NASA’s historic Small Explorers (SMEX) program.  The IXPE mission was first selected as a part of the Explorers program in January 2017. NASA awarded the IXPE team $188 million for the spacecraft and mission, including the cost of the launch vehicle, post-launch operations, and data analysis. The spacecraft will be used to study Black Holes and other cosmic X-ray mysteries.  Built by Ball Aerospace at facilities in Boulder, Colorado, the IXPE spacecraft is based on the Ball Configurable Platform (BCP)-100 satellite bus. The BCP-100 is one of Ball Aerospace’s offerings for a modular satellite bus for low-Earth orbit (LEO) operations. It was most recently used by NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) to test a new type of Green propellant for space operations.  IXPE is not the only space observatory Ball Aerospace has built. Ball built the Kepler space telescope, instruments for the Hubble and Spitzer space telescope. Ball also made the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), now named Near-Earth Orbit (NEO)WISE,…

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IXPE nearing shipment to Florida for December 2021 launch

Updated: September 23, 2021 — 10:26 am