BOULDER, Colo., July 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The mission critical design review (M-CDR) of NASA's Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) space-based astrophysics observatory was recently completed at Ball Aerospace's Boulder, Colorado, facility. The IXPE mission is led by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, with support from Ball Aerospace, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at University of Colorado Boulder and other partners.
IXPE is a Small Explorer, or SMEX mission, which is part of NASA's Astrophysics Explorer Program. Dr. Martin C. Weisskopf, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, is the principal investigator for the mission. Once launched in 2021, IXPE will measure the polarization of cosmic X-rays to improve our understanding of the fundamental physics of extreme and exotic objects in the universe, such as black holes.
"IXPE is an excellent example of an integrated team comprising government, industry and academia focused on a common purpose to deliver exciting and important science – the kind of work Ball loves to do," said Dr. Makenzie Lystrup, vice president and general manager, Civil Space, Ball Aerospace. "With M-CDR now complete we focus on hardware production, which includes the Ball Configurable Platform, or BCP, small satellite."
Ball Aerospace is responsible for providing the IXPE spacecraft, mechanical and structural elements of the payload, observatory assembly, and integration and test for IXPE. Ball Aerospace will leverage its BCP heritage of small, low-cost satellite buses that have a successful history of exceeding mission design life. The BCP has a broad spectrum of capabilities, is highly-reliable and has proven stability and pointing performance, which are essential for astrophysics missions.
The IXPE mission will fly Ball's smallest BCP model, about the size of a mini refrigerator, and similar to the BCP built for NASA's recently-launched Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM), which is already commissioned and delivering textbook performance. In addition to the GPIM small satellite, there are two additional BCP small satellites performing on orbit: STPSat-2, which launched in November 2010, and STPSat-3, which launched in November 2013. The two STP satellites were built for the U.S. Air Force Space Test Program's Standard Interface Vehicle (STP-SIV) project.
Powered by endlessly curious people with an unwavering mission focus, Ball Aerospace pioneers discoveries that enable our customers to perform beyond expectation and protect what matters most. We create innovative space solutions, enable more accurate weather forecasts, drive insightful observations of our planet, deliver actionable data and intelligence, and ensure those who defend our freedom go forward bravely and return home safely. Go Beyond with Ball.® For more information, visit www.ball.com/aerospace or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.
About Ball Corporation
Ball Corporation (NYSE: BLL) supplies innovative, sustainable packaging solutions for beverage, personal care and household products customers, as well as aerospace and other technologies and services primarily for the U.S. government. Ball Corporation and its subsidiaries employ 17,500 people worldwide and reported 2018 net sales of $11.6 billion. For more information, visit www.ball.com, or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.
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