NASA awards SpaceX $50 million contract for new mission

Black Hole

Black Hole

That source of business for the venerable rocket, though, could be in jeopardy with NASA's decision to launch IXPE on the Falcon 9, as well as the emergence of low-priced small launch vehicles that could seek certification from NASA's Launch Services Program in the near future.

As per NASA, it has collaborated with Space X to launch Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) mission on a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A in Florida.

CAPE CANAVERAL-NASA has awarded SpaceX a $50 million contract to launch an X-ray observatory created to measure polarized light from black holes, neutron stars and other high-energy astrophysical objects. As per NASA's spokesperson Tracy Young, the IXPE mission was announced on Monday in which SpaceX will use the previously used first stage booster for NASA's mission. Ball Aerospace is responsible for providing the IXPE spacecraft, mechanical and structural elements of the payload, observatory assembly, and integration and test for IXPE.

NASA said in a statement the $50 million price tag includes launch services and other mission-related costs.

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NASA has awarded SpaceX a contract to launch an advanced new observatory that will enable scientists to study some of the most exotic objects in the universe in unprecedented detail. The IXPE will fly at a 0 degree inclination, which will minimize its exposure to radiation in the South Atlantic Anomaly (where the Van Allen radiation belt is closest to the Earth).

IXPE is a part of NASA's Small explorer class of missions. NASA's most recent Pegasus XL contract, awarded in November 2014 for the Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) mission, had a total cost of $56.4 million. The PUNCH mission was supposed to be executed on a rocket by Pegasus but the agency made a decision to launch it in a different spacecraft.

The spacecraft was supposed to launch in 2017 but due to some series of issues, the mission didn't continue. The spacecraft will measure the polarization of X-rays from a variety of sources, from pulsars to active galactic nuclei. The most recent to be announced was for a NASA mission, one that serves to demonstrate that the company's 74 Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy flights - has not gone unnoticed.

IXPE is created to measure polarized X-rays from black holes, neutron stars and other cosmic objects.

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