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Diffuse X-ray emission from the Local galaxy (DXL) Launches Successfully
December 13, 2012

NASA Launching X-ray Emission Mission

Updated 12/13/12: The DXL (Diffuse X-rays from the Local galaxy) launched on December 13, 2012 at 12:20 AM EST from White Sands Missile Range, NM.

The mission, is a new payload carrying the DXL and DXL/STORM experiments. The objectives of the Diffuse X-ray Emission from the Local Galaxy (DXL) experiment were to:

  • Obtain Geometric measurements of the heliospheric Solar Wind Charge Exchange (SWCX) using an existing, large collecting area (1000 cm2 at 1 keV) suborbital instrument.
  • Differentiate the foreground SWCX emission from the background LHB emission separately in the 1Ž4 keV and 3Ž4 keV bands.
  • Obtain geometric information for input to the heliospheric SWCX models that are necessary for interpreting astrophysical observations using large observatories.

The mission also provided a flight opportunity for the prototype DXL/STORM instrument, a wide field of view soft X-ray camera using newly-developed micropore reflector technology. This flight was the first time this technology was used to image solar wind interaction with the terrestrial magnetosphere.

Payload events achieved and sub-systems performed nominally. The payload team is looking at acceleration and pressure data during the Brant rocket burn. Science targets acquired and sky scans achieved.

U of Miami's Diffuse X-Ray emission from the Local galaxy (DXL) logo. › View larger
DXL mission logo. Credit: University of Miami
NASA will launch an astrophysics mission to study the Diffuse X-ray emission from the Local galaxy (DXL) December 9 from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The goal of this flight is to identify how much of that diffuse x-ray emission comes from our solar system from the solar wind charge exchange process, and how much comes from outside our solar system from hot interstellar plasmas located in interstellar space. The payload incorporates an upgraded University of Wisconsin Aerobee IV instrument (flown on several Aerobee IV rockets from 1973 through 1980) and a prototype wide field-of-view soft x-ray camera.

The secondary payload STORM is the first wide field-of-view, solar wind charge exchange, soft X-ray imager for heliophysics applications. The instrument uses a new soft X-ray focusing technology called micropore reflectors (lobster-eye optics) which will fly for the first time on the sounding rocket instrument. Storm was built at Goddard Space Flight Center through the IRAD program.

The payload is scheduled to be launched at 10 p.m. MST, December 9 (0700 GMT, December 10), on a NASA Black Brant IX sounding rocket. The 55-foot tall rocket is projected to carry the payload to an altitude of 160 miles. The payload, weighing nearly 1,357 pounds, will be recovered.

The principal investigator for this mission is Massimiliano Galeazzi from the University of Miami.

For more information on the DXL, go to:

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Page Last Updated: June 3rd, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator