February 4, 1999
Two U.S. Air Force C-5 Galaxy transport planes carrying the observatory and its ground support equipment landed at Kennedy's Space Shuttle Landing Facility at 2:40 p.m. EST this afternoon. REDONDO BEACH, CA.--(Business Wire)--Feb. 4, 1999--TRW has shipped NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory ("Chandra") to the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), in Florida, in preparation for a Space Shuttle launch later this year.
The 45-foot-tall, 5-ton science satellite will provide astronomers with new information on supernova remnants, the surroundings of black holes, and other celestial phenomena that produce vast quantities of X-rays.
Cradled safely in the cargo hold of a tractor-trailer rig called the Space Cargo Transportation System (SCTS), NASA's newest space telescope was ferried on Feb. 4 from Los Angeles International Airport to KSC aboard an Air Force C-5 Galaxy transporter. The SCTS, an Air Force container, closely resembles the size and shape of the Shuttle cargo bay.
Over the next few months, Chandra will undergo final tests at KSC and be mated to a Boeing-provided Inertial Upper Stage for launch aboard Space Shuttle Columbia. A launch date for the Space Shuttle STS-93 mission is expected to be announced later this week.
The third in NASA's family of Great Observatories that includes the Hubble Space Telescope and the TRW-built Compton Gamma Ray observatory, Chandra will use the world's most powerful X-ray telescope to allow scientists to "see" and monitor cosmic events that are invisible to conventional optical telescopes.
Chandra's X-ray images will yield new insight into celestial phenomena such as the temperature and extent of gas clouds that comprise clusters of galaxies and the superheating of gas and dust particles as they swirl into black holes.
A TRW-led team that includes the Eastman Kodak Co., Raytheon Optical Systems Inc., and Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. designed and built the Chandra X-ray Observatory for NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory will manage the Chandra science mission for NASA from the Chandra X-ray Observatory Center in Cambridge, Mass.
TRW has been developing scientific, communications and environmental
satellite systems for NASA since 1958. In addition to building the
Chandra X-ray Observatory, the company is currently developing the
architectures and technologies needed to implement several of NASA's
future space science missions, including the Next Generation Space
Telescope, the Space Inteferometry Mission, both part of NASA's
Origins program, and Constellation-X, the next major NASA X-ray
mission after Chandra.
Article courtesy of TRW. TRW news releases are available on the corporate Web site: http://www.trw.com.