NASAEstablished in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government that succeeded the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). It is responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. It’s vision is “To discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity.””>NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) mission, the first satellite dedicated to measuring the polarization of X-rays from a variety of cosmic sources, such as black holes and neutron stars.
IXPE is scheduled to launch no earlier than 1 a.m. EST Thursday, December 9, on a SpaceXCommonly known as SpaceX, Space Exploration Technologies Corp. is a private American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company that was founded by Elon Musk in 2002. Headquartered in Hawthorne, California, the company designs, manufactures, and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft.”>SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Live launch coverage will begin at 12:30 a.m. on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website. On Tuesday, December 7, NASA will hold a payload briefing at 1 p.m. and a prelaunch news briefing at 5:30 p.m.
The IXPE spacecraft includes three space telescopes with sensitive detectors capable of measuring the polarization of cosmic X-rays, allowing scientists to answer fundamental questions about extremely complex environments in space where gravitational, electric, and magnetic fields are at their limits. The project is a collaboration between NASA and the Italian Space Agency.
All media participation in news conferences will be remote except where noted otherwise. For the protection of employees and journalists in the ongoing COVID-19First identified in 2019 in Wuhan, China, Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It has spread globally, resulting in the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic.”>COVID-19 pandemic, the Kennedy Press Site facilities will be open to a limited number of journalists on a first-come, first-served basis.
Full mission coverage is as follows (all times Eastern):
Tuesday, December 7
1 p.m. – IXPE Payload Briefing, with the following participants:
- Elisabetta Cavazzuti, ASI IXPE program manager, Italian Space Agency
- Luca Baldini, Italian co-principal investigator, National Institute for Nuclear Physics
- Brian Ramsey, deputy principal investigator, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center
- MacKenzie Ferrie, IXPE program manager, Ball Aerospace
5:30 p.m. – IXPE Prelaunch News Conference with the following participants:
- Sandra Connelly, deputy associate administrator for science, NASA Headquarters
- Martin Weisskopf, IXPE principal investigator, Marshall
- Makenzie Lystrup, vice president and general manager, civil space, Ball Aerospace
- Tim Dunn, launch director, NASA’s Launch Services Program
- Julianna Scheiman, director, civil satellite missions, SpaceX
- Mike McAleenan, 45th Weather Squadron, Space Launch Delta 45
Wednesday, December 8
11:30 a.m. – NASA EDGE will host the IXPE rollout show. The rollout show will air live on NASA TV and YouTube.
Thursday, December 9
12:30 a.m. – NASA TV live launch coverage begins.
Audio only of the news conferences and launch coverage will be carried on the NASA “V” circuits, which may be accessed by dialing 321-867-1220, -1240, -1260 or -7135. On launch day, “mission audio,” countdown activities without NASA TV launch commentary, will be carried on 321-867-7135. A “clean feed” of the launch without NASA TV commentary will be carried on the NASA TV media channel.