NASA’s Multi-Purpose NICER/SEXTANT Mission on Track for 2016 Launch

Technicians assemble a new 25-foot test facility, equipped with a one-meter parabolic optical mirror, which will be used to align NICER/SEXTANT’s 56 optics and detectors. Credits: NASA

Technicians assemble a new 25-foot test facility, equipped with a one-meter parabolic optical mirror, which will be used to align NICER/SEXTANT’s 56 optics and detectors. Credits: NASA

NASA mission that embodies the virtues of faster, less expensive access to space has sailed past all major development milestones and is scheduled to be delivered to Cape Canaveral on time for its October 2016 launch.

“We’re on schedule to deliver the instrument for integration aboard the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket this time next year,” said Keith Gendreau, the principal investigator of the Neutron-star Interior Composition Explorer/Station Explorer for X-ray Timing and Navigation Technology (NICER/SEXTANT).

“We’re on schedule to deliver the instrument for integration aboard the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket this time next year,” said Keith Gendreau, the principal investigator of the Neutron-star Interior Composition Explorer/Station Explorer for X-ray Timing and Navigation Technology (NICER/SEXTANT).

NICER/SEXTANT, which NASA’s Science Mission Directorate selected in 2013 as its next Explorer Mission of Opportunity, is a one-of-a-kind investigation that not only will gather important scientific data, but also demonstrate advanced navigation technologies — all from a relatively low-cost instrument that takes advantage of an already-existing platform, the International Space Station (ISS). The ISS orbit that ranges between 51.6 degrees north and south latitudes will give the instrument a good view of the cosmos to accomplish both its scientific and technology objectives.

The agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate also is supporting the development of the NICER/SEXTANT instrument, which Gendreau is developing at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

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*Source: NASA.gov

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