NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer, also known as IXPE, lifted off Thursday, Dec. 9, at 1 a.m. EST on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.    

After a successful launch, the rocket performed as expected, with spacecraft separation taking place 33 minutes into flight. Approximately one minute later, the spacecraft unfurled its solar arrays.

IXPE entered its orbit around Earth’s equator at an altitude of approximately 372 miles (600 kilometers), and mission operators received the first spacecraft telemetry data about 40 minutes after launch.

A joint effort with the Italian Space Agency, the IXPE observatory is NASA’s first mission dedicated to measuring the polarization of X-rays from the most extreme and mysterious objects in the universe – supernova remnants, supermassive black holes, and dozens of other high-energy objects. IXPE will spend the next few weeks starting up and testing out its systems before making its first observations of the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A in January. 
Explore IXPE In Depth

-NASA – also photo