Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) - 03.06.19

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Neutron stars, the glowing cinders left behind when massive stars explode as supernovas, are the densest objects in the universe and contain exotic states of matter that are impossible to replicate in any lab. They shine most brightly in narrow beams that sweep the sky as the stars spin; from a great distance, they appear to pulse like lighthouse beacons (hence the name “pulsars”). From its perch aboard the International Space Station (ISS), the Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) payload studies the extraordinary physics of these stars, providing new insights into their nature and behavior. Through the embedded Station Explorer for X-ray Timing and Navigation Technology (SEXTANT) demonstration, it also paves the way for a future GPS-like system for spacecraft navigation anywhere in the Solar System using pulsars as natural beacons.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Kristina N. Pevear, Kristina N. Pevear, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom: NICER

Principal Investigator(s)
Zaven Arzoumanian, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States
Keith C. Gendreau, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Information Pending

Developer(s)
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
NASA - Science Mission Directorate (NASA-SMD)

Research Benefits
Scientific Discovery, Space Exploration

ISS Expedition Duration
April 2017 - March 2019

Expeditions Assigned
51/52,53/54,55/56,57/58

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • Neutron stars are objects consisting of ultra-dense matter at the threshold of collapse to a black hole. The nature of this matter, which cannot be produced in a laboratory, is unknown.
  • Neutron stars emit X-ray radiation that enables investigations into their structure, dynamics, and energetics, but X-rays do not penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere.
  • Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER), an articulated payload mounted on a zenith Express Logistics Carrier (ELC) on the ISS, provides full-hemisphere sky coverage for astronomical observations in the soft X-ray band (0.2 – 12 keV photon energy). These observations will help resolve competing models of neutron star composition, answer decades-old questions about extreme matter and gravity, and reveal the workings of the high-energy, dynamic phenomena that neutron stars exhibit.

Description

Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) provides high-precision measurements of neutron stars (and other X-ray astrophysics phenomena) through observations in 0.2 – 12 keV X-rays, the electromagnetic band in which these stars radiate significant portions of their energy, addressing the following fundamental science questions:
  • What are the new states of matter at exceedingly high densities and temperatures?
  • How do cosmic accelerators work, and what are they accelerating?
  • Is a theory of matter and light needed at the highest energies?
  • What controls the mass, radius, and spin of compact stellar remnants?
NICER is the first mission capable of addressing these questions in-depth, with simultaneous fast timing and spectroscopy, with low background and high throughput, and ample sky coverage beyond Earth’s atmosphere.
 
The NICER payload comprises high-heritage components in an innovative configuration. The X-ray Timing Instrument (XTI) consists of an array of 56 grazing-incidence X-ray “concentrator” optics and matching silicon drift detectors, which detect individual X-ray photons to measure their energies and times of arrival. The payload uses an on-board GPS receiver to register photon detections to precise GPS time and position. The payload’s star tracker guides the payload’s pointing system, which uses gimbaled actuators to track and slew between inertial targets.
 
NICER’s primary scientific focus is an in-depth investigation of neutron stars – objects containing ultradense matter at the threshold of collapse to a black hole. Neutron stars are the smallest and densest stars in the known universe – although they have radii roughly the size of a city, their mass is typically 1.5–2 times that of the Sun. Some neutron stars, pulsars, emit powerful beams of radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum, such that they appear to pulse as their rotation sweeps these beams across the sky. Some of these objects, Millisecond Pulsars (MSPs), have such a regular and rapid pulsation rate that they rival atomic clocks in time-keeping accuracy and stability. Neutron stars are exotic objects that embody a physical environment impossible to replicate in a laboratory, in which all four fundamental forces of nature are simultaneously important.
 
The NICER payload uses the soft X-ray band to study the structure, dynamics, and energetics of neutron stars to:
  • Make mass and radius measurements enabled by pulse timing with unprecedented precision.
  • Enable discrimination among dozens of proposed equation of state (EOS) models, and develop constraints on a basic unknown of nuclear physics, the density-dependent nuclear symmetry energy.
  • Measure masses through phase coherent timing of binary pulsars.
  • Discover periodic and quasi-periodic pulsations in steady and transient neutron star systems.
  • Define constraints on the maximum spin rate of neutron stars.
  • Establish intrinsic rotational stabilities of MSPs on many-month timescales.
  • Provide long-term clock stabilities that support future “timing array” gravitational wave searches.
  • Derive cooling timescales of low and high-field pulsars.
  • Characterize spin variations and outbursts during “glitches.”
  • Define thermal and mechanical properties of the crust of neutron stars.
  • Study neutron star asteroseismology by measuring mode frequencies of stellar oscillations.
  • Determine radiation patterns, spectra, and relative phases across wavelength bands.
  • Test radiation models in ultra-strong magnetic and gravitational fields.
 
The SEXTANT technology demonstration is synergistic with NICER’s primary mission, and leverages targeting of rapidly spinning neutron stars (pulsars) with high stability in pulse timing to demonstrate the viability of pulsar-based navigation. SEXTANT uses X-ray sources to enable GPS-like autonomous navigation of spacecraft throughout the Solar System and beyond.
 
Although NICER’s standalone research offers definitive improvements to existing scientific understanding, NICER’s data have significant synergy with existing and future missions that can further expand humankind’s understanding of the universe. For example, NICER offers an opportunity for comprehensive study of Fermi sources consistent with young or millisecond pulsars, especially radio-quiet pulsars. NICER’s superior low-energy coverage in the X-ray band complements the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer's (RXTE's) spectral coverage for X-ray burst spectra, even though simultaneous observations are not possible. Phase-resolved NICER spectroscopy discriminates among radiation components, defining surface and polar-cap temperatures and pulsations, while a future X-ray polarimeter mission could provide a complementary test of Comptonization in thermal polar cap models. NICER can also provide sensitive follow-up for source identification for transients and glitches observed by MAXI (an ISS Japanese Experiment Module-based X-ray camera that searches for celestial transients) and other all-sky monitors.
 
NICER has also planned for a Guest Observer program that enables X-ray astrophysics observations beyond neutron stars. Proposals for such guest observations are peer-reviewed to competitively select observations of targets not necessarily limited to neutron stars, enabling study of ultraluminous X-ray sources, black holes, active galactic nuclei, clusters of galaxies, nearby stars, and other scientifically significant targets.
 
NICER's primary mission to perform an in-depth study of neutron stars offers unrivaled astrophysics knowledge and can revolutionize the understanding of ultra-dense matter. SEXTANT's demonstration of X-ray based navigation technology can help expand the sphere of GPS-like navigation capability, providing a foundation for reliable navigation throughout our Solar System and beyond. Scientific returns are dramatically increased for all parties by leveraging the interplay between NICER and other missions across wavelengths. Further scientific returns are enabled by NICER's guest observer program. NICER/SEXTANT can significantly advance fundamental nuclear, particle, and gravitational physics, and contribute to a greater understanding of our Universe.

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Applications

Space Applications
The NICER investigation consists of an instrument that will study neutron stars with unprecedented precision, increasing understanding of some of the most extreme conditions in the universe. In addition, the investigation includes a software-based technology demonstration called the Station Explorer for X-ray Timing and Navigation Technology (SEXTANT), which marks a milestone in the attempt to establish a pulsar-based navigation system. SEXTANT takes advantage of NICER’s observations of X-ray-emitting millisecond pulsars, which are as reliable as atomic clocks in keeping accurate time. Precise timekeeping is essential for accurate navigation. Pulsar navigation would work similarly to GPS navigation on Earth, providing precise positioning for spacecraft throughout the Solar System.

Earth Applications
In laboratories, physicists can replicate some of the most extreme physical environments in the universe, but it is impossible to recreate the incredible density of a neutron star, where unusual physical phenomena take place. This investigation enables new studies of neutron stars and other astrophysical sources of X-rays, advancing scientific understanding, education, and technical development for the benefit of people on Earth. In addition, the investigation takes steps toward a new type of accurate navigation and positioning system for spacecraft, which uses X-ray-emitting pulsars distributed throughout our Galaxy, instead of atomic clocks on Earth-orbiting satellites, as in the Global Positioning System (GPS). Pulsar-based navigation can work anywhere in the Solar System, benefiting future manned missions to Mars or other distant destinations.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols

NICER achieves its science objectives by collecting X-ray photons from neutron stars distributed across the sky. Fifteen million seconds (Msec; equivalent to 6 uninterrupted months) of total exposure time distributed over 18 calendar months for several dozen identified targets are required to achieve the baseline science objectives.
 
NICER requires standard ISS power (28V and 120V) and data services available at its ELC location, including the Low Rate Data Link for command and telemetry via the 1553, and the High-Rate Data Link via Ethernet. The data is transported through the existing ISS space and ground infrastructure to and from the NICER SMOC at GSFC. The primary interface for the SMOC is the Payload Operations Integration Center (POIC) that resides at the Huntsville Operations Support Center (HOSC) at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville, Alabama. Telemetry data are routed to the NICER ground system via the HOSC, and NICER instrument command sequences developed in the SMOC are transferred to the HOSC for integration with other ISS uplink products.
 
NICER uses ISS video capability to confirm initial deploy and stow.

Typically, NICER observes two or three targets during an ISS orbit. The first target is tracked until a viewing constraint is about to be violated (e.g., solar panel or Earth blockage), then NICER slews to a second target fairly rapidly (up to 1 deg/sec), acquires the second target and tracks it until a viewing constraint is nearly violated, then NICER slews to a third target, and so on. The complete science dataset for a given target includes many individual observations, potentially accumulated over hours, days, or years. NICER carries a time and position standard based on GPS that enables multiple observations to be pieced together into a coherent dataset across the entire mission lifetime. Each photon detected by NICER is time tagged with an absolute precision of better than 100 nanoseconds and with NICER position knowledge to better than ±10 m. NICER’s instrument remains locked onto specified targets to better than 120 arcseconds.
 
In general, NICER operates continuously while on orbit. However, when EVA activities are in the vicinity of ELC2, NICER is stowed.
 

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Results Publications

    Sanna A, Ferrigno C, Ray PS, Ducci L, Jaisawal GK, Enoto T, Bozzo E, Altamirano D, Di Salvo T, Strohmayer TE, Papitto A, Riggio A, Burderi L, Bult PM, Bogdanov S, Gambino AF, Marino A, Iaria R, Arzoumanian Z, Chakrabarty D, Gendreau KC, Guillot S, Markwardt CB, Wolff MT.  NuSTAR and NICER reveal IGR J17591-2342 as a new accreting millisecond X-ray pulsar. Astronomy and Astrophysics. 2018 September; 617: L8. DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201834160.

    Stiele H, Kong AK.  A spectral and timing study of MAXI J1535–571, Based on Swift/XRT, XMM-Newton , and NICER Observations Obtained in Fall 2017. The Astrophysical Journal. 2018 November 21; 868(1): 71. DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/aae7d3.

    Ludlam RM, Miller JM, Arzoumanian Z, Bult PM, Cackett EM, Chakrabarty D, Dauser T, Enoto T, Fabian AC, Garcia JA, Gendreau KC, Guillot S, Homan J, Jaisawal GK, Keek L, LaMarr B, Malacaria C, Markwardt CB, Steiner JF, Strohmayer TE.  Detection of reflection features in the neutron star low-mass X-Ray binary Serpens X-1 with NICER. The Astrophysical Journal. 2018 May 1; 858(1): L5. DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aabee6.

    Sanna A, Pintore F, Riggio A, Mazzola SM, Bozzo E, Di Salvo T, Ferrigno C, Gambino AF, Papitto A, Iaria R, Burderi L.  SWIFT J1756.9−2508: Spectral and timing properties of its 2018 outburst. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 2018 December 1; 481(2): 1658-1666. DOI: 10.1093/mnras/sty2316.

    Neilsen J, Cackett EM, Remillard RA, Homan J, Steiner JF, Gendreau KC, Arzoumanian Z, Prigozhin GY, LaMarr B, Doty JP, Eikenberry S, Tombesi F, Ludlam RM, Kara E, Altamirano D, Fabian AC.  A persistent disk wind in GRS 1915+105 with NICER. The Astrophysical Journal Letters. 2018 June 18; 860(2): L19. DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aaca96.

    Miller JM, Gendreau KC, Ludlam RM, Fabian AC, Altamirano D, Arzoumanian Z, Bult PM, Cackett EM, Homan J, Kara E, Neilsen J, Remillard RA, Tombesi F.  A NICER spectrum of MAXI J1535–571: Near-maximal black hole spin and potential disk warping. The Astrophysical Journal Letters. 2018 June 25; 860(2): L28. DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aacc61.

    Bult PM, Altamirano D, Arzoumanian Z, Chakrabarty D, Gendreau KC, Guillot S, Ho WC, Jaisawal GK, Lentine S, Markwardt CB, Ngo SN, Pope JS, Ray PS, Saylor MR, Strohmayer TE.  On the 2018 outburst of the accreting millisecond X-ray pulsar Swift J1756.9-2508 as seen with NICER. The Astrophysical Journal. 2018; 864(1): 14. DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/aad5e5.

    Stevens AL, Uttley P, Altamirano D, Arzoumanian Z, Bult PM, Cackett EM, Fabian AC, Gendreau KC, Ha KQ, Homan J, Ingram AR, Kara E, Kellogg JW, Ludlam RM, Miller JM, Neilsen J, Pasham DR, Remillard RA, Steiner JF, van den Eijnden J.  A NICER discovery of a low-frequency quasi-periodic oscillation in the soft-intermediate state of MAXI J1535–571. The Astrophysical Journal Letters. 2018 September 26; 865(2): L15. DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aae1a4.

    Keek L, Arzoumanian Z, Bult PM, Cackett EM, Chakrabarty D, Chenevez J, Fabian AC, Gendreau KC, Guillot S, Guver T, Homan J, Jaisawal GK, Lamb FK, Ludlam RM, Mahmoodifar S, Markwardt CB, Miller JM, Prigozhin GY, Soong Y, Strohmayer TE, Wolff MT.  NICER observes the effects of an X-Ray burst on the accretion environment in Aql X-1. The Astrophysical Journal. 2018 March 1; 855(4): L4. DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aab104.

    Kara E, Steiner JF, Fabian AC, Cackett EM, Uttley P, Remillard RA, Gendreau KC, Arzoumanian Z, Altamirano D, Eikenberry S, Enoto T, Homan J, Neilsen J, Stevens AL.  The corona contracts in a black-hole transient. Nature. 2019 January 9; 565(7738): 198-201. DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0803-x.

    Wilson-Hodge CA, Malacaria C, Jenke PA, Jaisawal GK, Kerr M, Wolff MT, Arzoumanian Z, Chakrabarty D, Doty JP, Gendreau KC, Guillot S, Ho WC, LaMarr B, Markwardt CB, Ozel F, Prigozhin GY, Ray PS, Ramos-Lerate M, Remillard RA, Strohmayer TE, Vezie ML, Wood KS.  NICER and Fermi GBM observations of the first galactic ultraluminous X-Ray pulsar Swift J0243.6+6124. The Astrophysical Journal. 2018 August 6; 863(1): 9. DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/aace60.

    Strohmayer TE, Gendreau KC, Altamirano D, Arzoumanian Z, Bult PM, Chakrabarty D, Chenevez J, Guillot S, Guver T, Homan J, Jaisawal GK, Keek L, Mahmoodifar S, Miller JM, Ozel F.  NICER discovers MHz oscillations in the "clocked" burster GS 1826-238. The Astrophysical Journal. 2018 September 21; 865(1): 63. DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/aada14.

    Keek L, Arzoumanian Z, Chakrabarty D, Chenevez J, Gendreau KC, Guillot S, Guver T, Homan J, Jaisawal GK, LaMarr B, Lamb FK, Mahmoodifar S, Markwardt CB, Okajima T, Strohmayer TE, 't Zand JJ.  NICER detection of strong photospheric expansion during a thermonuclear X-Ray burst from 4U 1820–30. The Astrophysical Journal. 2018 April 1; 856(2): L37. DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aab904.

    Bult PM, Arzoumanian Z, Cackett EM, Chakrabarty D, Gendreau KC, Guillot S, Homan J, Jaisawal GK, Keek L, Kenyon SJ, Lamb FK, Ludlam RM, Mahmoodifar S, Markwardt CB, Miller JM, Prigozhin GY, Soong Y, Strohmayer TE, Uttley P.  A NICER look at the Aql X-1 hard state. The Astrophysical Journal. 2018 May 20; 859(1): L1. DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aac2e2.

    Trakhtenbrot B, Arcavi I, Ricci C, Tacchella S, Stern D, Netzer H, Jonker PG.  A new class of flares from accreting supermassive black holes. Nature Astronomy. 2019 January 14; epub. DOI: 10.1038/s41550-018-0661-3.

    Strohmayer TE, Arzoumanian Z, Bogdanov S, Bult PM, Chakrabarty D, Enoto T, Gendreau KC, Guillot S, Harding AK, Ho WC, Homan J, Jaisawal GK, Keek L, Kerr M, Mahmoodifar S, Markwardt CB, Ransom SM, Ray PS, Remillard RA, Wolff M.  NICER Discovers the Ultracompact Orbit of the Accreting Millisecond Pulsar IGR J17062–6143. The Astrophysical Journal Letters. 2018 May 9; 858(2): L13. DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aabf44.

    Gendreau KC, Arzoumanian Z.  Searching for a pulse. Nature Astronomy. 2017 December 1; 1: 895. DOI: 10.1038/s41550-017-0301-3.

    Bult PM, Altamirano D, Arzoumanian Z, Cackett EM, Chakrabarty D, Doty JP, Enoto T, Gendreau KC, Guillot S, Homan J, Jaisawal GK, Lamb FK, Ludlam RM, Mahmoodifar S, Markwardt CB, Okajima T, Price SR, Strohmayer TE, Winternitz LB.  NICER detects a soft x-ray kilohertz quasi-periodic oscillation in 4U 0614+09. The Astrophysical Journal Letters. 2018; 860(1): L9. DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aac893.

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Ground Based Results Publications

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ISS Patents

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Related Publications

    Arzoumanian Z, Gendreau KC, Baker CL, Cazeau T, Hestnes P, Kellogg JW, Kenyon SJ, Kozon RP, Liu KA, Manthripragada SS, Markwardt CB, Mitchell AL, Mitchell JW, Monroe CA, Okajima T, Pollard SE, Powers DF, Savadkin BJ, Winternitz LB, Chen PT, Wright MR, Foster R, Prigozhin GY, Remillard RA, Doty JP.  The neutron star interior composition explorer (NICER): Mission definition. Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2014: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; 2014 July 29 914420.

    Balsamo ER, Gendreau KC, Arzoumanian Z, Okajima T, Jalota L, Soong Y, Serlemitsos PJ, Enoto T, Gulati B, Kenyon SJ, Hahne D, Fickau D, Spartana NS, Lentine S, Burdhimo C, Barrios B, Wu L.  Concept study x-ray testing for NICER's x-ray concentrators. Optics for EUV, X-Ray, and Gamma-Ray Astronomy VI, San Diego, California ; 2013 September 26 88611M.

    Gendreau KC, Arzoumanian Z, Okajima T.  The Neutron star Interior Composition ExploreR (NICER): An Explorer Mission of Opportunity for Soft X-ray Timing Spectroscopy. Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 8443; 2012: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray; 2012 September 17 844313.

    Prigozhin GY, Gendreau KC, Doty JP, Foster R, Remillard RA, Malonis A, LaMarr B, Vezie ML, Egan MD, Villasenor JS, Arzoumanian Z, Baumgartner S, Scholze F, Laubis C, Krumrey M, Huber A.  NICER instrument detector subsystem: description and performance. Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2016: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray, Edinburgh, United Kingdom; 2016 July 99051I-1 - 99051I-12.

    Balsamo ER, Gendreau KC, Arzoumanian Z, Jalota L, Kenyon SJ, Fickau D, Spartana NS, Hahne D, Koenecke RG, Soong Y, Serlemitsos PJ, Okajima T, Campion R, Detweiler L.  Development of full shell foil x-ray mirrors. Modern Technologies in Space- and Ground-based Telescopes and Instrumentation II, Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2012 September 13 845052.

    Prigozhin GY, Gendreau KC, Foster R, Ricker G, Villasenor JS, Doty JP, Kenyon SJ, Arzoumanian Z, Redus R, Huber A.  Characterization of the silicon drift detector for NICER instrument. High Energy, Optical, and Infrared Detectors for Astronomy V, Amsterdam, Netherlands; 2012 September 25 845318.

    Gendreau KC, Arzoumanian Z, Adkins PW, Albert CL, Anders JF, Aylward AT, Baker CL, Balsamo ER, Bamford WA, Benegalrao SS, Berry DL, Bhalwani S, Black JK, Blaurock C, Bronke GM, Brown GL, Budinoff J, Cantwell JD, Cazeau T, Chen PT, Clement TG, Colangelo AT, Coleman JS, Coopersmith JD, Dehaven WE, Doty JP, Egan MD, Enoto T, Fan TW, Ferro DM, Foster R, Galassi NM, Gallo LD, Green CM, Grosh D, Ha KQ, Hassouneh MA, Heefner KB, Hestnes P, Hoge LJ, Jacobs TM, Jørgensen JL, Kaiser MA, Kellogg JW, Kernyon SJ, Koenecke RG, Kozon RP, LaMarr B, Lambertson MD, Larson AM, Lentine S, Lewis JH, Lilly MG, Liu KA, Malonis A, Manthripragada SS, Markwardt CB, Matonak BD, Mcginnis IE, Miller RL, Mitchell AL, Mitchell JW, Mohammed JS, Monroe CA, Montt de Garcia KM, Mule PD, Nagao LT, Ngo SN, Norris ED, Norwood DA, Novotka J, Okajima T, Olsen LG, Onyeachu CO, Orosco HY, Peterson JR, Pevear KN, Pham KK, Pollard SE, Pope JS, Powers DF, Powers CE, Price SR, Prigozhin GY, Ramirez JB, Reid WJ, Remillard RA, Rogstada EM, Rosecrans GP, Rowe JN, Sager JA, Sanders CA, Savadkin BJ, Saylor MR, Schaeffer AF, Schweiss NS, Semper SR, Serlemitsos PJ, Shackelford LV, Soong Y, Struebel J, Vezie ML, Villasenor JS, Winternitz LB, Wofford GI, Wright MR, Yang MY, Yu WH.  The Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER): design and development. Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2016: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray, Edinburgh, United Kingdom; 2017 March 16 99051H-1 - 99051H-16.

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Related Websites
GCD SEXTANT Site
HEASARC NICER Homepage
Video Animation of NICER Deploy and Track on board ISS

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Imagery

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Stowed Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) -X Side.

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Stowed Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) -Y Side.
 

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First 56 Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) Flight X-Ray Concentrators.

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Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) Payload Model.

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image NASA Image: ISS055E024025 - View of a radiator pane, solar array and the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer - 02 (AMS-02) as seen by the External High Definition Camera (EHDC1). Also visible are Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) and Materials ISS Experiment Flight Facility (MISSE-FF).
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NASA Image: ISS057E055500 - The Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) payload is attached to ExPRESS (Expedite the Processing of Experiments to Space Station) Logistics Carrier-2 (ELC-2) on the S3 Truss. Photo was taken by the ground-controlled External High Definition Camera 1 (EHDC1). NICER's primary mission to perform an in-depth study of neutron stars offers unrivaled astrophysics knowledge and can revolutionize the understanding of ultra-dense matter.

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NASA Image: ISS057E055490 - The Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) payload is attached to ExPRESS (Expedite the Processing of Experiments to Space Station) Logistics Carrier-2 (ELC-2) on the S3 Truss. Photo was taken by the ground-controlled External High Definition Camera 1 (EHDC1). NICER's primary mission to perform an in-depth study of neutron stars offers unrivaled astrophysics knowledge and can revolutionize the understanding of ultra-dense matter.

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NASA Image: ISS057E055482 - The Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) payload is attached to ExPRESS (Expedite the Processing of Experiments to Space Station) Logistics Carrier-2 (ELC-2) on the S3 Truss. Photo was taken by the ground-controlled External High Definition Camera 1 (EHDC1). NICER's primary mission to perform an in-depth study of neutron stars offers unrivaled astrophysics knowledge and can revolutionize the understanding of ultra-dense matter.

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NASA Image: ISS057E055462 - The Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) payload is attached to ExPRESS (Expedite the Processing of Experiments to Space Station) Logistics Carrier-2 (ELC-2) on the S3 Truss. Photo was taken by the ground-controlled External High Definition Camera 1 (EHDC1). NICER's primary mission to perform an in-depth study of neutron stars offers unrivaled astrophysics knowledge and can revolutionize the understanding of ultra-dense matter.

+ View Larger Image


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NASA Image: ISS057E055460 - The Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) payload is attached to ExPRESS (Expedite the Processing of Experiments to Space Station) Logistics Carrier-2 (ELC-2) on the S3 Truss. Photo was taken by the ground-controlled External High Definition Camera 1 (EHDC1). NICER's primary mission to perform an in-depth study of neutron stars offers unrivaled astrophysics knowledge and can revolutionize the understanding of ultra-dense matter.

+ View Larger Image


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NASA Image: ISS057E055440 - The Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) payload is attached to ExPRESS (Expedite the Processing of Experiments to Space Station) Logistics Carrier-2 (ELC-2) on the S3 Truss. Photo was taken by the ground-controlled External High Definition Camera 1 (EHDC1). NICER's primary mission to perform an in-depth study of neutron stars offers unrivaled astrophysics knowledge and can revolutionize the understanding of ultra-dense matter.

+ View Larger Image