NASA choose Elon Musk SpaceX for next black hole craft launch – space latest update | World | News

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The spacecraft is called the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer, or IXPE. SpaceX president and COO Gwynne Shotwell in a statement said: “SpaceX is honoured that NASA continues to place its trust in our proven launch vehicles to deliver important science payloads to orbit. IXPE will serve as SpaceX’s sixth contracted mission under NASA’s LSP, two of which were successfully launched in 2016 and 2018, increasing the agency’s scientific observational capabilities.”

Intriguingly, IXPE was originally planned to launch on Orbital ATK (now Northrop Grumman’s) Pegasus XL but NASA never followed through with a launch contract.

The move to SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is likely related to the extremely disruptive and expensive launch delays NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) spacecraft has suffered at the hands of its Pegasus XL rocket.

Capable of launching less than 450 kg (1000 lb) to low Earth orbit, Pegasus XL has been lucky to launch annually over the last decade or so and carries a price tag of no less than $50million-$60million (£39million-£49million)today.

The mission will help scientists in the study of magnetars (a specific type of neutron star with especially powerful magnetic fields), black holes and “Pulsar Wind Nebulae” which are nebula that are found within the remains of a supernova.

READ MORE: The morbid payload aboard SpaceX’s latest Falcon Heavy launch

This research spacecraft will study polarised light from sources including neutron stars, pulsar wind nebulae and supermassive black holes, and provide much more imaging than existing space-based observation resources.

SpaceX will launch this IXPE mission aboard a flight-proven Falcon 9, and the total cost for the contract is around $50.3million (£39million).

The launch will take place in April 2021 per current plans, taking off from LC-39A at Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

This is just one of a number of upcoming launches SpaceX is contracted to perform for NASA, including the commercial resupply missions it regularly performs for the International Space Station.

SpaceX will launch this IXPE mission aboard a flight-proven Falcon 9, and the whole price for the contract is around $50.3million (£40.19million).

The launch will happen in April 2021 per present plans, taking off from LC-39A at Kennedy Area Middle in Florida.

This is only one of a variety of upcoming launches SpaceX is contracted to carry out for NASA, together with the industrial resupply missions it commonly performs for the Worldwide Area Station.

Again, for the small-scale performance of Pegasus XL, the rocket still carries a price tag of more than $50million (£39million) NASA’s ICON launch contract was valued at more than $56million (£44.74million).

Conscious of this, SpaceX has managed to sway NASA to launch the small IXPE spacecraft on a flight-proven Falcon 9 at a cost of just $50.3million (£40.19million), easily the lowest Falcon 9 launch contract cost ever publicised.



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