Can’t keep good men down: from NASA.gov
NuSTAR will be the first focusing high energy X-ray mission, opening the hard X-ray sky for sensitive study for the first time. NuSTAR will search for black holes, map supernova explosions, and study the most extreme active galaxies.
Essential to the NuSTAR design is a deployable mast which extends to 10 meters (30 feet) after launch. This mast will separate the NuSTAR X-ray optics from the detectors, a necessity to achieve the long focal length required by the optics design. Using a deployable structure allows NuSTAR to launch on a Pegasus XL rocket, one of the smaller launch vehicles available. Previous focusing X-ray missions such as Chandra and XMM-Newton launched fully deployed on larger rockets.
This extendable mast is being built by ATK Goleta, which specialize in space-based deployable structures. They have built structures that have flown on the International Space Station, on Mars landers, and a mast similar in design albeit much larger in scale that flew on the Space Shuttle Endeavor in February 2000. The NuSTAR flight mast has been built and is currently undergoing testing at ATK Goleta. These images are from a full deployment test in August 2009.
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