Ball Aerospace Delivers NASA’s X-Ray Observatory to Kennedy Space Center for Launch
Written by: Space Foundation Editorial Team
The Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer will study exotic objects in the universe, including black holes
BROOMFIELD, Colo., Nov. 9, 2021 — NASA’s Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE), built by Ball Aerospace, safely arrived Friday at Cape Canaveral in Fla. A collaboration between Ball, NASA, and the Italian Space Agency (ASI), IXPE is an astrophysics observatory set to launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in December.
Once on orbit, IXPE will measure the polarization of cosmic X-rays to improve our understanding of the fundamental physics of extreme objects in the universe, such as neutron stars, quasars and supermassive black holes. IXPE will tackle such mysteries as the sources of magnetic fields, how they formed, and the inner workings of celestial objects, including whether a black hole is spinning and the rate of spin. These answers will provide valuable insight into how the universe works.
“It has been exciting to be part of a program that is going to provide new and important insights into the formation of the universe by observing some of its rarest and most mysterious celestial objects,” said Dr. Makenzie Lystrup, vice president and general manager, Ball Aerospace. “Of course, there is still a lot of work to be done upon its arrival at Kennedy, but like every part of this program, we are looking forward to continuing to work hand-in-hand with our government and academic partners to ensure success before, during and after launch.”
IXPE is a Small Explorer, or SMEX mission, which is part of NASA’s Astrophysics Explorer Program. The IXPE mission is led by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, with support from Ball Aerospace, ASI, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at University of Colorado Boulder and other partners. Dr. Martin C. Weisskopf is the principal investigator for the mission.
Ball Aerospace provided the IXPE spacecraft, mechanical and structural elements of the payload, observatory assembly, and integration and test. The spacecraft is based on the smallest Ball Configurable Platform (BCP) model. As part of Ball Aerospace’s commitment to sustainability, a similar BCP was developed for NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM).
Powered by endlessly curious people with an unwavering mission focus, Ball Aerospace pioneers discoveries that enable our customers to perform beyond expectation and protect what matters most. We create innovative space solutions, enable more accurate weather forecasts, drive insightful observations of our planet, deliver actionable data and intelligence, and ensure those who defend our freedom go forward bravely and return home safely. Go Beyond with Ball.® For more information, visit www.ball.com/aerospace or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.
About Ball Corporation
Ball Corporation (NYSE: BLL) supplies innovative, sustainable aluminum packaging solutions for beverage, personal care and household products customers, as well as aerospace and other technologies and services primarily for the U.S. government. Ball Corporation and its subsidiaries employ 21,500 people worldwide and reported 2020 net sales of $11.8 billion. For more information, visit www.ball.com, or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.
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