"IXPE's intended to operate for two years"
Rubbish. NASA will have that bird working past it's 20th birthday I'm sure.
In the wee hours of Thursday morning, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) mission into orbit from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. IXPE's job is to peer into the dark corners of the universe, where it's hoped it will spot the remnants of supernovae, supermassive black holes, and …
I think it's meant to operate for up to 25 years (as per the de-orbit plan).
That phrase probably just indicates the allocated budget for the next 2 years. After that the data and science will probably open up other funding channels to keep it looking outwards for years to come.
These aren't your standard bifocals.
The telescopes consist of 24 concentric shaped-conic sections. The x-rays come in at very small angles and are reflected onto the detector plates. They get around 300x300 pixels after several thousand seconds of exposure.
There are three parallel telescopes -- the "lenses" are a few meters away from the detectors so they have to be mounted on an extension bellows.
It's all very cool. The images will be amazing.
Former UK mobile operator Orange in the 90's would boast that if your handset went faulty they would send out a replacement in 7-10 days. They were in fact geared up to replace in 48 hours. Customer very very happy.
In reverse NASA telescopeything will last for 2 years, knowing this also to be a porky pie.
However, looks all good and money well spent, can't wait to see the holiday snaps.
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