NASA awarded Imaging Xray polarimetry explorer (IXPE) mission to SpaceX

NASA has awarded a contract to SpaceX to launch NASAs Imaging Xray polarimetry explorer (IXPE) mission. The mission aims to uncover the mysteries behind black holes and neutron stars.
Arjun Manjunadha

Updated: Jul 12,2019 01:08:02 pm

NASA awarded Imaging Xray polarimetry explorer (IXPE) mission to SpaceX

12 July 2019 Current Affairs:NASA has awarded a contract to SpaceX to launch NASA’s Imaging Xray polarimetry explorer (IXPE) mission, a groundbreaking astrophysics mission. The mission aims to uncover the mysteries behind black holes and neutron stars.
The cost estimated for the mission is $50.3 million. The mission plans to launch three space telescopes. These telescopes will be capable of analyzing the polarization of cosmic X-rays. The IXPE mission is expected to be launched from the Kennedy Space Centre in April 2021.
 
About IXPE:
The Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) will get information regarding the polarization state of light from astrophysical sources. This will provide insight into the X-ray production in objects such as neutron stars and pulsar wind nebulae, as well as stellar and supermassive black holes. 
The launch mass of IXPE is 320 kilograms. IXPE will be launched over SpaceX FALCON 9 which is capable of launching 22,800 kilograms to low Earth orbit (LEO). There will also be excess payload capacity at launch.

NASA and SpaceX:
The IXPE mission is a part of the US space agency’s Launch Services Program (LSP). SpaceX has previously launched two LSP missions namely Jason-3 and TESS. It has also been awarded three other missions, SWOT, Sentinel-6A, and Dart by NASA earlier.
IXPE will be sixth contracted mission of SpaceX under NASA’s LSP. Two of the missions were successfully launched in 2016 and 2018, increasing the agency’s scientific observational capabilities.
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