The Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER): design and development
Author(s)Egan, Mark; Malonis, Andrew C.; Prigozhin, Gregory; Remillard, Ronald A; Vezie, Michael L.; Villasenor, Jesus Noel Samonte; Foster, Richard F.; La Marr, Beverly J.; ... Show more Show less
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During 2014 and 2015, NASA's Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) mission proceeded successfully through Phase C, Design and Development. An X-ray (0.2-12 keV) astrophysics payload destined for the International Space Station, NICER is manifested for launch in early 2017 on the Commercial Resupply Services SpaceX-11 flight. Its scientific objectives are to investigate the internal structure, dynamics, and energetics of neutron stars, the densest objects in the universe. During Phase C, flight components including optics, detectors, the optical bench, pointing actuators, electronics, and others were subjected to environmental testing and integrated to form the flight payload. A custom-built facility was used to co-align and integrate the X-ray "concentrator" optics and silicon-drift detectors. Ground calibration provided robust performance measures of the optical (at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center) and detector (at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) subsystems, while comprehensive functional tests prior to payload-level environmental testing met all instrument performance requirements. We describe here the implementation of NICER's major subsystems, summarize their performance and calibration, and outline the component-level testing that was successfully applied.
DepartmentMIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research
Proceedings Volume 9905, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2016: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray
Gendreau, Keith C., et al. "The Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER): Design and Development." Proceedings Volume 9905, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2016: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray, 26 June - 1 July, 2016, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, edited by Jan-Willem A. den Herder et al., SPIE, 2016, p. 99051H. © 2016 SPIE.
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