Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array

NuSTAR
NuStar 1.jpg
General information
NSSDC ID NuSTAR
Organization NASA/JPL
Major contractors ATK Space Systems-Goleta
Orbital Sciences Corporation
Launch date February 3, 2012 (2012-02-03) (planned)[1]
Launched from Kwajalein Atoll
Launch vehicle L-1011 Stargazer
+ Pegasus XL
Mission length 2 years
Type of orbit Near-equatorial (6 degrees)
Orbit height 550 km
Telescope style Conical approximation Wolter
Wavelength 5-78 keV equivalent
Collecting area 847 square cm (9 keV),
60 square cm (78 keV)
Focal length 10 m (33 ft)
Website http://www.nustar.caltech.edu/

Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) is a planned space-based X-ray telescope that will use grazing incidence mirrors to focus high energy X-rays at 5 to 79 keV from astrophysical sources, especially for nuclear spectroscopy.[2] It is the eleventh mission of the NASA Small Explorer satellite program (SMEX-11) and the first space-based direct-imaging X-ray telescope at energies beyond those of the Chandra X-ray Observatory and XMM-Newton. Mission launch is scheduled for 3 February 2012.[1]

Its primary scientific goals are to conduct a deep survey for black holes a billion times more massive than our sun, understand how particles are accelerated to within a fraction of a percent of the speed of light in active galaxies, and understand how the elements are created in the explosions of massive stars by imaging the remains, which are called supernova remnants.

The principal investigator is Fiona Harrison of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Other major partners include the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), University of California at Berkeley, the Danish National Space Center, Columbia University, Goddard Space Flight Center, the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Sonoma State University. NuSTAR's major industrial partners include Orbital Sciences Corporation and ATK Space Systems-Goleta.

Contents

Optics

NuSTAR employs two grazing incidence focusing optics each of which consists of 133 concentric shells. The supermirror optics used are coated by DTU Space in Copenhagen and assemblied at the Nevis laboratories of Columbia University and expected to be finished by March, 2011.

History

NuSTAR's predecessor, the High Energy Focusing Telescope (HEFT), was a balloon-borne version that carried telescopes and detectors constructed using similar technologies. In February 2003, NASA issued an Explorer Program Announcement of Opportunity. In response, NuSTAR was submitted to NASA in May, as one of 36 mission proposals vying to be the tenth and eleventh Small Explorer missions.[3] In November, NASA selected NuSTAR and four other proposals for a five-month implementation feasibility study.

In January 2005, NASA selected NuSTAR for flight pending a one-year feasibility study.[4] The program was cancelled in February 2006 as a result of cuts to science in NASA's 2007 budget. On September 21, 2007 it was announced that the program had been restarted, with an expected launch in August 2011, though this was later delayed to February 2012.[5][6][7][1]

Planned Launch

NASA has contracted with Orbital Sciences Corporation to launch NuSTAR on a Pegasus XL rocket for 3 February 2012.[1] It had earlier been planned for 15 August 2011.[8] The launch will originate from Kwajalein Atoll.[9]

See also

  • Gravity and Extreme Magnetism SMEX, future hard X-ray telescope measuring polarization
  • New Hard X-ray Imaging and Polarimetric Satellite Mission (NHXM), future hard X-ray telescope
  • Astro-H, future x-ray telescope

References

  1. ^ a b c d F. Harrison; Y. Kim (May). "NusTAR Newsletter". NASA JPL. http://www.nustar.caltech.edu/uploads/updates/NuSTAR_2010may_update.pdf. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  2. ^ About NuSTAR: The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array
  3. ^ "NASA Selects Explorer Mission Proposals for Feasibility Studies (03-353)" (Press release). Dwayne Brown, NASA. 4 November 2003. http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2003/nov/HQ_03353_feasibility_studies.html. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  4. ^ "NASA Selects Small Explorer Mission (05-026)" (Press release). Dolores Beasley/Gretchen Cook-Anderson, NASA. 26 January 2005. http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2005/jan/HQ_05026_exp_mission.html. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  5. ^ "NASA Restarts Telescope Mission to Detect Black Holes (07-198)" (Press release). Grey Hautaluoma, NASA. 21 September 2007. http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2007/sep/HQ_07198_NuSTAR.html. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  6. ^ "NASA Restarts Telescope Mission to Detect Black Holes". NASA/JPL. 21 September 2007. http://www.nasa.gov/centers/jpl/news/nustar-20070921_prt.htm. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  7. ^ Staff writers (21 September 2007). "NASA Plans Black Hole Finder". SPACE.com. http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/070921_nustar_restart.html. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  8. ^ Jon Nelson (September 4, 2009). "NASA Approves X-ray Space Mission". NASA/JPL. http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/features.cfm?feature=2306. Retrieved 20 July 2011. }}
  9. ^ "NASA Selects Orbital's Pegasus Rocket to Launch NuSTAR Space Science Satellite". Orbital. 18 February 2009. http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/release.asp?prid=685. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 

External links


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