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During the spacewalk, the International Space Station's X-ray telescope was repaired

During the spacewalk, the International Space Station's X-ray telescope was repaired

The International Space Station's X-ray telescope, NICER (Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer), can be repaired this year, even during a spacewalk. hardware His mistake It was spotted as early as May 2023 (It is not yet clear why this is)This is what experts described as “light leakage”: unwanted sunlight entered the device and reached the telescope’s sensitive detectors. Based on what the agency said, the team took immediate action to mitigate the impact on the observations, but of course they also started thinking about a possible solution.

“Sunlight interferes with NICER's ability to collect usable X-ray measurements on the station during the day.” said Zaven Arzoumanian, NICER's scientific director. “Nighttime observations have not been affected and the telescope continues to produce amazing scientific results. Since the beginning of the mission, hundreds of published studies have used NICER. Blocking out some of the incoming light will allow us to return to more normal 24/7 operation.” he added.

About NICER in a nutshell: A 56-piece aluminum tube called an X-ray condenser contains a The latter are equipped with mirrors designed to direct X-rays to the detector. In front of the condenser is a thin filter called a heat shield, which blocks sunlight, and at the top is a hollow, circular six-part “sunshield” that looks like a cut-up pie. The sun visor is designed to keep condensates in the sun cool and protect sensitive heat shields.

As mentioned above, the repair will be performed during the spacewalk. Circular-shaped pieces are placed in the masks over the areas with the most damage, which are held in place. The sites will be delivered to the International Space Station as part of the NG-21 mission, which is expected to launch in August.

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The most beautiful. Source: NASA
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