NASA Taps SpaceX to Help Launch Polarized X-Ray Mission in 2021

Jeff Brody

SpaceX has received a contract to help NASA launch an observatory designed to help scientists discover astronomical details in space.

NASA said Tuesday it estimates the cost of the Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer mission, which is scheduled for an April 2021 launch, will reach $50.3M.

IXPE is designed to measure polarized X-rays from black holes, neutron stars and other cosmic objects. The observatory will work to help astronomers study phenomena and extreme environments in space.

The spacecraft would carry three sensor-equipped telescopes intended to quantify cosmic X-ray polarization.

Under the contract, SpaceX will provide its Falcon 9 rocket to launch IXPE at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

NASA's Launch Services Program will oversee the launch service.

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