The Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) spacecraft, which will study the polarization of X-rays coming to us from some of the universe’s most extreme sources – including black holes and dead stars known as pulsars – arrived at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Nov. 5, 2021.
NASA’s first mission dedicated to measuring X-ray polarization, IXPE is scheduled to launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 vehicle from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A on Dec. 9, 2021, at 1 a.m. EST. The launch is managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at Kennedy.
Final prelaunch testing of IXPE began on Monday, Nov. 8. The spacecraft is expected to be mated to the launch vehicle during the last week of November.
IXPE will fly three space telescopes with sensitive detectors capable of measuring the polarization of cosmic X-rays, allowing scientists to answer fundamental questions about these extremely complex environments where gravitational, electric, and magnetic fields are at their limits.
NASA selected IXPE as an Explorers Program mission in 2017. The IXPE project is a collaboration between NASA and the Italian Space Agency. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the IXPE mission. Ball Aerospace, headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado, manages spacecraft operations with support from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the Explorers Program for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
Click here for more information on the IXPE mission.