TAI Delivers Graphite Fiber Thermal Straps for NASA’s IXPE Mission

Ball Aerospace - IXPE Graphite Fiber Thermal Straps

Thrilled to announce TAI just completed another set of Graphite Fiber Thermal Straps (GFTS®), destined for NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) Satellite, scheduled for launch in November 2020.

Ball Aerospace Graphite Fiber Thermal Straps - NASA IXPE_pic 2_smaller

The TAI team just finished assembly and testing on these units, designed and manufactured for Ball Aerospace, and will be supplying several dozen more flight model (FM) units to Ball in the coming months, in addition to the prototype and FM units delivered to the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and the National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN), for their part on the IXPE Mission.

The straps are used by both Ball and INFN to provide a durable, highly-conductive thermal strap solution weighing in at just 1/10th the mass of an equivalent copper thermal strap, and are used to cool various components on IXPE (the X-ray polarization detectors provided by INFN use a TEC-GFTS hybrid thermal strap design highlighted in previous blogs).

NASA IXPE Satellite


About the IXPE Mission

“The Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer will be launched on or after November 20, 2020 into a 540-km circular orbit at 0° inclination. During IXPE’s two-year mission, targets such as active galactic nuclei (AGN), microquasars, pulsars and pulsar wind nebulae, magnetars, accreting X-ray binaries, supernova remnants, and the Galactic center will be studied.

The Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) exploits the polarization state of light from astrophysical sources to provide insight into our understanding of X-ray production in objects such as neutron stars and pulsar wind nebulae, as well as stellar and supermassive black holes. Technical and science objectives include:

  • improving polarization sensitivity by two orders of magnitude over the X-ray polarimeter aboard the Orbiting Solar Observatory OSO-8 (scientists see HEASARC: Observatories),
  • providing simultaneous spectral, spatial, and temporal measurements,
  • determining the geometry and the emission mechanism of Active Galactic Nuclei and microquasars,
  • finding the magnetic field configuration in magnetars and determining the magnitude of the field,
  • finding the mechanism for X ray production in pulsars (both isolated and accreting) and the geometry,
  • determining how particles are accelerated in Pulsar Wind Nebulae.”

-Image credit: https://www.ball.com/aerospace/programs/ixpe

-Written content credit: https://ixpe.msfc.nasa.gov/index.html

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