NASA’s IXPE Mission Nears Liftoff

IXPE and Falcon 9 rocket on the launch pad
NASA’s IXPE mission is set to launch from Kennedy Space Center at 1 a.m. EST. Image credit: NASA

In just about 10 minutes, the Falcon 9 rocket’s nine Merlin engines will roar to life, sending SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and NASA’s Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) spacecraft into space. The rocket has been fueled with liquid oxygen and RP-1 – rocket-grade kerosene. The Falcon 9’s engines are chilling in preparation for launch.

Excitement is building as IXPE, NASA’s first dedicated mission to measuring X-ray polarization, nears launch. IXPE will study changes in the polarization of X-ray light through some of the universe’s most extreme sources, including black holes, dead stars known as pulsars, and more.