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NASA launches new x-ray observatory to explore universe’s most extreme, mysterious objects

SpaceX launched the spacecraft on its $214 million mission from Kennedy Space Center.

By: AP | Cape Canaveral |
December 10, 2021 10:12:44 am
IXPE LaunchA SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches with NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) spacecraft onboard from Launch Complex 39A, Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

NASA’s newest X-ray observatory rocketed into orbit Thursday to shed light on exploded stars, black holes and other violent high-energy events unfolding in the universe.

SpaceX launched the spacecraft on its $214 million mission from Kennedy Space Center. It’s called IXPE, short for Imaging X-ray Polarization Explorer.

Scientists said the observatory — actually three telescopes in one — will unveil the most dramatic and extreme parts of the universe as never before.

“IXPE is going to open a new window on the X-ray sky,” Brian Ramsey, NASA’s deputy principal scientist, said this week.

Operations should begin next month. NASA is partnering with the Italian Space Agency on the project.

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