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NASA’s newest X-ray telescope rockets into orbit

Scientists said the observatory — actually three telescopes in one — will unveil the most dramatic and extreme parts of the universe as never before.
Image:
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off carrying NASA's Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) spacecraft from at the Kennedy Space Center on Thursday. John Raoux / AP

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA’s newest X-ray observatory rocketed into orbit Thursday to shed light on exploded stars, black holes and other violent high-energy events unfolding in the universe.

SpaceX launched the spacecraft on its $188 million mission from Kennedy Space Center. It’s called IXPE, short for Imaging X-ray Polarization Explorer.

Scientists said the observatory — actually three telescopes in one — will unveil the most dramatic and extreme parts of the universe as never before.

NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE).NASA

“IXPE is going to open a new window on the X-ray sky,” Brian Ramsey, NASA’s deputy principal scientist, said this week.

Operations should begin next month. NASA is partnering with the Italian Space Agency on the project.