The mission critical design review (M-CDR) of NASA‘s Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) space-based astrophysics observatory was recently completed at Ball Aerospace‘s Boulder, Colorado, facility. The IXPE mission is led by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, with support from Ball Aerospace, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at University of Colorado Boulder, and other partners.
IXPE is a Small Explorer, or SMEX mission, which is part of NASA’s Astrophysics Explorer Program. Martin C. Weisskopf, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, is the principal investigator for the mission. Once launched in 2021, IXPE will measure the polarization of cosmic X-rays to improve our understanding of the fundamental physics of extreme and exotic objects in the universe, such as black holes. Ball Aerospace is responsible for providing the IXPE spacecraft, mechanical and structural elements of the payload, observatory assembly, and integration and test for IXPE.
“IXPE is an excellent example of an integrated team comprising government, industry and academia focused on a common purpose to deliver exciting and important science – the kind of work Ball loves to do,” said Dr. Makenzie Lystrup, vice president and general manager, Civil Space, Ball Aerospace. “With M-CDR now complete we focus on hardware production, which includes the Ball Configurable Platform, or BCP, small satellite.”
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