The Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) is a mission under development, which is part of the NASA SMEX space programme, whose principal investigator is Dr. Martin Weisskopf from the NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville, Alabama, United States. The IXPE will carry on board 3 telescopes, with detectors capable of measuring the polarization of X-rays emitted by astronomic sources, with a sensitivity which is two orders of magnitude over the X-ray polarimeter aboard the Orbiting Solar Observatory OSO-8, a mission that operated between the end of the 60’s and the beginning of the 70’s. The detectors were developed by a team of INFN and INAF researchers and funded by the Italian Space Agency. The Italian team has a long experience in the field of detectors for measuring the polarization of X-rays, because they have been working on it since the 70’s. The grazing incidence mirrors of the telescopes, instead, were developed at the NASA/MSFC by a team guided by Dr. Brian Ramsey. Finally, the spacecraft and the satellite integration fall under the responsibility of the Ball Aerospace, located in Broomfield, Colorado. The satellite will be launched on April 2021 aboard the Falcon 9 rocket, from the Launch Complex 39A in Florida, and its circular orbit will be at 540 km altitude and 0 degrees inclination. 

During the first two years of mission, the IXPE will open a new astrophysical window. The main targets of the mission will be active galactic nuclei (AGN), micro quasars, pulsars and pulsar wind nebulae, magnetars, X-ray binaries, remnants of supernovae and the Galactic Centre. The IXPE will provide simultaneous spectral measurements of polarization, variability and images, allowing thereby to study the geometry and physical processes of radiation emissions and particle acceleration, in environments with extreme magnetic and gravitational fields.

‣ News

FRIDAY 08 OCTOBER 2021

Meeting of the Italian branch of CSES-Limadou satellite mission ‣

CSES-Limadou satellite mission is a collaboration between the Chinese and Italian Space Agencies also involving INFN, INAF, INGV, and CNR research Institutes as well as the Universities of Rome Tor Vergata, Turin and Trento MORE...

SATURDAY 02 OCTOBER 2021

PRISMA and the Eye of the Sahara ‣

The image has been taken by the satellite of the Italian Space Agency on May 10, 2021 MORE...

FRIDAY 01 OCTOBER 2021

DART Gets Its CubeSat Companion, Its Last Major Piece ‣

LICIACube has the important task of watching DART’s final maneuver a deliberate crash into an asteroid and its effects MORE...

FRIDAY 01 OCTOBER 2021

ERMINe annual event on: The changing World ‣

5 - 7 October 2021 MORE...

MONDAY 20 SEPTEMBER 2021

The Italian Space Agency opened the doors to the “G20 Space Economy Leaders Meeting” ‣

The meeting between the G20 space agencies and the international organizations was opened by the Minister of Technological Innovation and Digital Transition with mandate for space affairs, Vittorio Colao, and the ASI president, Giorgio Saccoccia MORE...