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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.
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.