Imagine the Universe!

Launch!

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, inclination=23 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. The satellite will gather data about X-ray emitting stars, binary systems, 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 satellite sensitivity up 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 astronomy, Bruno B. Rossi. The new official title of the observatory is the Bruno B. Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE).

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Imagine the Universe! is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The Imagine Team
Project Leader: Dr. Barbara Mattson
Curator: J.D. Myers
Responsible NASA Official: Phil Newman
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This page last updated: Monday, 27-Sep-2004 11:26:08 EDT