IXPE About: Expanding the X-ray View of the Universe

The Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer was launched on December 9, 2021 into a 600-km circular orbit at approximately 0° inclination. During IXPE's two-year mission, targets such as active galactic nuclei (AGN), microquasars, pulsars and pulsar wind nebulae, magnetars, accreting X-ray binaries, supernova remnants, and the Galactic center will be studied.

NASA announced the selection of IXPE on January 3, 2017, with these words from Dr. Paul Hertz, the Astrophysics Division Director for the Science Mission Directorate: "NASA has a great history of launching observatories in the Astrophysics Explorers Program with new and unique observational capabilities. IXPE will open a new window on the universe for astronomers to peer through. Today, we can only guess what we will find."

The cost of IXPE will be $188 million, which includes the cost of the launch vehicle and operations and data analysis after launch. The Principal Investigator is Dr. Martin Weisskopf of NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville, AL. Ball Aerospace, Broomfield Colorado, is providing the spacecraft and the services of mission integration. The X-ray polarization detectors will be provided by the Italian Space Agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI). Dr. Brian Ramsey is leading the effort to produce the grazing-incidence X-ray mirrors at NASA/MSFC.

IXPE artist's concept of observatory in flight
An Artist's Concept of the IXPE Space Telescope in Flight.
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