IXPE Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer – NASA’s New Mission


On December 9th , 2021 NASA has launched a new mission named as IXPE to study the mysterious objects in the universe


  • NASA has launched the mission IXPE.
  • Launch Date : 21 October
  • IXPE stands for Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer .
  • The mission’s primary length is two years and the observatory is at 600 km altitude , orbiting around Earth’s equator
  • IXPE is expected to study about 40 Celestial Object in its first year of Space.

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About the Mission IXPE

Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer, commonly known as IXPE or SMEX-14, is a space observatory with three identical telescopes designed to measure the polarization of cosmic X-rays of Explorer program.

IXPE – Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer observatory is a joint effort of NASA and the Italian Space Agency. The aim of the mission is to study the most extreme and mysterious objects in the Universe.

It will study the following object :
–Supernova Remnants ,
–Supermassive Black Holes
–High energy Objects.

The Length of the mission is 1 Years.

The IXPE will study about more than 40 celestial bodies in its first year.
Through IXPE , we will be able to understand the violent universe around us like exploding stars , black holes ,etc

The mission is to be launched on SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle on December 9, 2021. It is to be launched from the Kennedy Space Centre of NASA.

Instruments on IXPE

  • IXPE carries 3 state of the art space telescopes. Each of the thee identical telescopes hosts one light weight X-ray mirror and one detector unit .
  • These will help us to observe polarized X-ray from neutron stars and black holes.
  • The polarization of the X-rays helps us to study the geometry and inner structure of the light source.

Why this mission ?

This mission will give answer to our questions like
Why do black holes spin ?
Characteristic of black hole in our galaxy .
How do pulsars shine so bright in X-rays ?
We will be able to calculate the power and speed of the jets of energetic particle that are ejected from the region around the blackholes .

About NASA

  • NASA : National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Headquarters : Washington D.C., United States
  • Founded : 29 July 1958
  • Director (as on 19 December ) : Bill Nelson