The Orbital Science Corporation's "Stargazer" plane is shown releasing its Pegasus rocket. NASA's NuSTAR will also launch from a Pegasus carried by the Stargazer plane. (Photo : Orbital Sciences Corporation)
NASA's newest high-energy X-ray telescope called Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) was successfully deployed on Wednesday June 13 in the Pacific Ocean's central region.
NuSTAR will go on a mission to help astronomers and other professionals understand black holes and other not-well-known objects in the universe better.
Like Us on Facebook
Simply speaking, it sounds like NASA is installing another high-tech camera out in space to help scientists back on Earth better observe the universe but according to NASA's report release, a more technical explanation of its purpose would be how Astrophysics Division Director, Paul Hertz, put it:
"With its unprecedented spatial and spectral resolution to the previously poorly explored hard X-ray region of the electromagnetic spectrum, NuSTAR will open a new window on the universe and will provide complementary data to NASA's larger missions, including Fermi, Chandra, Hubble and Spitzer."
The mission's principal investigator at Caltech, Fiona Harrison, shared that NuSTAR would "help find the most elusive and most energetic black holes, to help us understand the structure of the universe."
NuSTAR's deployment and setting off of its rocket to reach Earth's outer orbit proceeded following a very fascinating sequence.
According to NASA's report, the telescope--NASA prefers to call them observatories--was installed on top of a rocket called the Pegasus XL, while the rocket was joined to the belly of an L-1011 "Stargazer" aircraft.
As the aircraft flew over the Pacific Ocean, the rocket was dropped at about 9:00 a.m. PDT and after free-falling for five seconds, NASA reports that the rocket fired its first motor.
About 13 minutes later, NuSTAR started moving away from the rocket that eventually dropped. And at approximately 9:14 a.m. PDT, the first signal from the spacecraft was received, reported the space agency.
The new telescope will help capture better defined images of space in general and the mission is led by Caltech and administered by JPL.
To watch the spacecraft's deploying sequence scroll down for the video.
Click on images to enlarge photos.