NuStar is go

NuStar is a small explorer class hard x-ray focusing telescope.

It is now scheduled for launch in august 2011.

NuStar is optimised for the hard x-ray range, looking at energies from 6 keV to 79 keV, with energy resolution of ~ 1 keV and, sub-arcmin angular resolution ( Prof. F. Harrison PI).

The telescope does narrow field x-ray imaging in the spectral range beyond that covered by Chandra and XMM-Newton.
Previous imaging telescopes in the hard x-rays used coded aperture masks, but NuStar uses grazing incidence focusing optics on a 10 meter deployable boom.

The satellite is due to be launched on a Pegasus, so there'll be some intricate folding to fit the payload.

The mission has cleared KDP-C and is in phase C/D.
This is rather miraculous as NuStar was summarily canceled a few years ago, just after passing review, by the then head of the SMD Universe division.
This was during some rough NASA times when some rather arbitary decision were made due to budget constraints and lack of direction on priorities.

Should do some interesting science:

Science objectives are:
census of active black holes from hard x-ray emission;
compact object in the galaxy and galactic center;
supernova remnants and chemistry of remnants;
plus targets of opportunity and secondary science depending on mission duration and actual on-orbit performance.


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By Erin Siegel (not verified) on 13 Sep 2009 #permalink