back to article NASA's new black hole spotter makes it into orbit

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 …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "IXPE's intended to operate for two years"

    Rubbish. NASA will have that bird working past it's 20th birthday I'm sure.

    1. Sixtiesplastictrektableware

      Re: "IXPE's intended to operate for two years"

      Agree. Bless NASAs socks. It's a wonder we can't build things to work so well and last down here.

      Also nice to read about a bunch of people united in the value of knowledge and trying to expand and not contract it.

    2. MrReynolds2U

      Re: "IXPE's intended to operatIe for two years"

      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.

    3. HildyJ Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: "IXPE's intended to operate for two years"

      Given that Chandra, its predecessor X-ray telescope, had a five year mission that's still going after 22 years, I think we can safely discount the planned mission 2 years and even the deorbit 20 years.

      NASA is the gift that keeps on giving.

  2. Bitsminer Bronze badge
    Boffin

    X-ray specs

    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.

  3. andrewmm

    SpaceX Falcon 9 ,landing ?

    Did the SpaceX Falcon 9 first stage land ?

    or is that so standard now, it makes no news ?

    1. Spherical Cow

      Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 ,landing ?

      Yes, and yes.

      This site shows pretty graphs of flight data: https://flightclub.io/result/2d?llId=dfb2cc3b-8cd8-41b6-a83a-22b2a742ba4b

  4. mark4155

    The "Orange" principle.

    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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