Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Gets $564M NASA X-ray Satellite Support Extension


The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory has received a potential 12-year, $563.5M contract extension to help NASA manage a space observatory built to detect X-ray emissions from outer space.

SAO will continue to support Chandra X-ray Observatory system engineering, ground system development and maintenance; scientific research; outreach; and mission execution and planning activities through the Chandra X-ray Center in Cambridge, Mass., the agency said Wednesday.

The contract extends the performance period through Sept. 30, 2024, and includes two three-year options that could further extend work until Sept. 30, 2030.

NASA launched the Chandra satellite on July 23, 1999 to serve as the agency’s flagship observatory for X-ray astronomy.

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is a research arm of the Smithsonian Institute that jointly operates with the Harvard College Observatory as part of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

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