NASA has a new mission designed to help scientists discover some of the most dramatic and mysterious things in the universe: between supernova remnants and supermassive black holes. The Space Observatory’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) has successfully departed into space this dawn, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
According to the US space agency, the launch into space went as planned, with the observatory detaching from the spacecraft about 33 minutes after launch, and opening the solar panels shortly thereafter.
About 40 minutes after launch, with the observatory entering orbit at an altitude of about 600 km from Earth, the NASA team of experts received the first data from IXPE.
Click the pictures for more details about the launch of IXPE
The mission asserts itself as an international collaboration between NASA and the Italian Space Agency, including partners in 12 other countries. NASA explain what The IXPE space observatory aims to measure the polarization of X-rays in space objects with high energy levels, using three modern telescopes.
The new mission aims to complement the scientific discoveries of other telescopes, including Chandra X-ray Observatory. If all goes as planned, the first IXPE operations will take place in January 2022.
According to Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s scientific director, the IXPE mission is groundbreaking. “Together with our partners in Italy and all over the world, we have added to our fleet a new space observatory that will allow us to shape our understanding of the universe over the next few years,” the official confirms, adding that the observatory will allow us to observe the “more violent” side of the universe, such as an explosion. Stars and black holes at the center of galaxies.
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