NuSTAR High-Energy X-Ray Observatory for Airborne Pegasus Launch
The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) is set to launch on Orbital Sciences’ winged Pegasus XL rocket from an L-1011 jumbo jet 12 kilometers above Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands NET 08:30 PDT June 13. NuSTAR will be the first high energy X-ray telescope with variable focus capability to orbit the Earth, and should greatly outperform the largest ground-based observatories in resolving this part of the electromagnetic spectrum. The NASA-JPL mission’s primary science objectives include studying relativistic jets found in the most extreme active galaxies, and determining what powers giant cosmic accelerators. The mission will also examine black holes, supernovae and gamma-ray bursts. There are plans to coordinate simultaneous observations with Fermi, which will provide a significant boost to that mission’s science return. The 360-kg instrument is expected to reach a 550-km near-equatorial orbit before deploying a 10-m boom. The airborne launch will mark the 25th mission of the Pegasus XL configuration rocket, this time with a brand new on-board computer. (Image Credit: NuSTAR, ESO, NASA, OSC)
LPI Events Address Future Directions of Mars / Solar System Exploration
Mars is often cited as one of the premier destinations for human / robotic space ...