SpaceX Contracted By NASA To Launch Its Black Holes And Neutron Stars Research Space Probe


NASA has been developing in the past two years a new cutting-edge type of observatory to send into space. This observatory, named IXPE or Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer, is going to have three telescopes meant to calculate the polarization of X-rays from space. In order to launch it, NASA contracted SpaceX, the famous private space company owned by Elon Musk.

The new mission will research cosmic objects and will allow to detail the magnetic fields of space entities, such as black holes, neutron stars, magnetars, pulsars, supernova remnants, etc. By analyzing the polarization of X-rays, researchers will be capable of a better understanding of the environments that created all these cosmic objects.

And who better to send the IXPE space observatory into space than SpaceX. With its reusable pioneering spacecraft and launch vehicles, SpaceX will be up to the task.

NASA contracted SpaceX to launch black holes and neutron stars research space probe

The IXPE is scheduled to be launched with the help of Falcon 9, a two-stage launch vehicle, in April 2021. The location of the launch will be the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and NASA’s Launch Services Program will administer it. The scheduled flight will cost around $50.3 million.

The mission is destined to aid astronomers to find and investigate magnetars specifically. Magnetars are neutron stars that contain a powerful magnetic field. Other cosmic entities that are going to be studied by the IXPE are black holes and plerions, a class of nebulae that can be located in the center of what was left of a supernova; pulsar whirlwinds power the nebulae. The IXPE will supply detailed imaging in comparison with other observatories used by NASA.

IXPE is not the first mission on which NASA and SpaceX teamed up, but the sixth. Two of the past missions happened in 2016, 2018, respectively, and sent into space new technologies to observe the universe. Other tasks that the two agencies work on are the numerous resupply commissions to the International Space Station.


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