The X-ray Timing Explorer blasts off from the Kennedy Space Center.
A NASA/Bionetics production.
At 8:48 EST (13:48 GMT) on Saturday, December 30th 1995, the X-ray Timing
Explorer (XTE) was launched into its intended orbit (313 nmi, 580 km,
degrees) by a Delta II launch vehicle. The solar arrays and high gain antennae
were deployed as expected, and everything looks set for a successful mission.
will gather data about
and other sources within the Milky Way Galaxy and beyond. It will be the most
sensitive mission ever conducted by NASA for measuring the time variability of
such systems. Its scientific payload consists of three instruments: the
Proportional Counter Array (PCA), built at the NASA/Goddard Space Flight
Center, the largest device of its type ever flown; the High-Energy X-ray
Timing Experiment (HEXTE), built by the University of California,
San Diego, consisting of crystal scintillator detectors that extend the
to 200 keV, and the
All Sky Monitor (ASM),
built at MIT, which scans most of the sky every 1.5 hours in order to
monitor the brightest sources in the sky.
On February 28, 1996, NASA renamed the XTE in honor of a pioneer in the
field of X-ray
Bruno B. Rossi. The new official title of the observatory is the Bruno B.
Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE).