NASA to Launch Black Hole-Hunting Space Telescope Today
Image: Artist’s concept of NuSTAR on orbit. NuSTAR has two identical optics modules in order to increase sensitivity. The background is an image of the galactic center obtained with the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Credit: NASA
NASA is counting down to the planned launch of its newest space telescope today (June 13) on a mission to search for black holes in the universe.
The $165 million Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) mission will hunt for black holes by scanning X-ray light at higher energies than any spacecraft before.
The NuSTAR telescope is set to launch atop an unmanned Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL rocket, which will be carried into launch position by an L-1011 “Stargazer” jet aircraft taking off from the Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific. The launch was originally slated for 11:30 a.m. EDT (1530 GMT), but has now been pushed back by half an hour to noon EDT (1600 GMT) to allow technicians to check out a minor technical issue. The issue has now been cleared, but the timeline is slightly delayed from the extra work. The vehicle has a four-hour launch window available today.