The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR)
I have been examining this NuSTAR craft. It seems quite interesting:
The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) will be NASA's 11th Small Explorer satellite mission, the first space-based direct-imaging
X-ray telescope at energies beyond those of the Chandra X-ray Observatory and XMM-Newton. The mission is expected to be launched in 2011.
NuSTAR intends to use grazing incidence mirrors to focus high energy X-rays from astrophysical sources. Its primary goals are to conduct a deep survey
for supermassive black holes, study particle acceleration in active galaxies, and measure radioactive isotopes in young supernova remnants in our own
Galaxy. The Principal Investigator is Fiona Harrison of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Other partners include the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory (JPL), Columbia University, the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, the University of California, Santa Cruz, Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratory, Sonoma State University, and the Danish National Space Center (DNSC, formerly the Danish Space Research Institute). As of November 2003,
it was planned to cost NASA a total of US$132,000,000.
Columbia University's contribution centers on developing the curved glass used in the array, which is formed using specific heat cycles in
specialized slumping ovens. Most of this research takes place at Columbia's Nevis Laboratories research facility in Irvington, New York. The curved
glass is coated with multilayer reflective materials at DNSC. Caltech develops the imaging hard X-ray detectors on the focal plane. JPL is responsible
for project management.
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
"National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA): Nuclear Spectroscopic
Telescope Array (NuSTAR) Mission
AGENCY: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
ACTION: Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)."
SUMMARY: Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of
1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 43321 et seq.), the Council on
Environmental Quality Regulations for Implementing the Procedural
Provisions of NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), and NASA policy and
procedures (14 CFR part 1216 subpart 1216.3), NASA has made a Finding
of No Significant Impact (FONSI) with respect to the proposed NuSTAR
mission. The proposed action would be the launch of the NuSTAR mission
on a Pegasus XL launch vehicle from the Reagan Test Site (RTS) at U.S.
Army Kwajalein Atoll (USAKA), the Republic of the Marshall Islands
(RMI) in August 2011. The only other alternative that was considered in
detail was No Action.
The NuSTAR instrument consists of two co-aligned grazing incidence telescopes with specially coated optics and newly developed detectors that extend
sensitivity to higher energies as compared to previous missions such as Chandra and XMM. After launching into orbit on a small rocket, the NuSTAR
telescope extends to achieve a 10-meter focal length. The observatory will provide a combination of sensitivity, spatial, and spectral resolution
factors of 10 to 100 improved over previous missions that have operated at these X-ray energies.
A NASA Small Explorer (SMEX) mission, NuSTAR is currently in Phase B development and is scheduled to launch into low-Earth equatorial orbit in August
NuSTAR will offer opportunities for a broad range of science investigations, ranging from probing cosmic ray origins to studying the extreme physics
around collapsed stars to mapping microflares on the surface of the Sun. NuSTAR will also respond to targets of opportunity including supernovae and
During a two-year primary mission phase, NuSTAR will map selected regions of the sky in order to:
1. take a census of collapsed stars and black holes of different sizes by surveying regions surrounding the center of own Milky Way Galaxy and
performing deep observations of the extragalactic sky;
2. map recently-synthesized material in young supernova remnants to understand how stars explode and how elements are created; and
3. understand what powers relativistic jets of particles from the most extreme active galaxies hosting supermassive black holes.