In an announcement on the agency's website, NASA reveals that it has awarded SpaceX a $50.3 million launch contract for its X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) mission. The mission now is targeted to launch in April 2021 on a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A in Florida, NASA said. As per the report, it likely won't take the entire payload of the rocket.
"IXPE is an excellent example of an integrated team comprising government, industry and academia focused on a common goal 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. Now after years of early planning, NASA finally awarded SpaceX a contract to launch the black hole spacecraft.
"SpaceX is honored that NASA continues to place its trust in our proven launch vehicles to deliver important science payloads to orbit", said SpaceX president and COO Gwynne Shotwell in a statement to TechCrunch. She noted IXPE is the sixth mission the company has won a contract to launch through NASA's Launch Services Program, which handles satellite missions.
For SpaceX, the IXPE mission will serve as a clear indication of the company's capabilities in delivering vital payloads to space for scientific advancement.
IXPE is a Small Explorer, or SMEX mission, which is part of NASA's Astrophysics Explorer Program.
Patrick Attwell is a native of Houston, Texas but he now resides in Austin, Texas where he studies accounting at Concordia University Texas. Atwell has worked to cover these fields for more than a decade. Since that time, Atwell has followed his dreams and has covered events dealing with NASA's Commercial Crew flight assignments at NASA's Johnson Space Center and other space-related events in the Lone Star State. The only mission which comes in the name of Northrop Grumman's Pegasus is the launch of NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, spacecraft.