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Projects: Current Missions

Chandra Chandra X-ray Observatory
Launch date: 23 July 1999

The Chandra X-ray Observatory, a NASA Great Observatory, provides the most detailed view to date of the X-ray universe. With its exquisite imaging capabilities and high spectral resolution scientists have investigated phenomena as diverse as the spectra of Jupiter's aurora, the effects of dark energy on the growth of galaxy clusters, and the properties of faint x-ray sources in deep fields.

Fermi Fermi
Launch date: 11 June 2008

The Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope (formerly GLAST) is providing our deepest and most detailed map of the gamma-ray sky. Fermi has recorded high-energy gamma rays produced by supernovae, pulsars, extreme flows of energy from systems powered by black holes, and gamma-ray bursts.

XMM-Newton XMM-Newton
Launch date: 10 Dec 1999

XMM-Newton, the X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission, is the second cornerstone of the ESA Horizon 2000 program. With high collecting area in the x-ray band, XMM provides vital information for studies of fundamental and relativistic processes from neutron stars and active galactic nuclei, the creation and dispersal of the elements in supernovae, the distribution of dark matter in clusters, groups, and elliptical galaxies, and young active stars to constrain models of the early solar system and star forming regions.

Related Current Missions

The following missions are part of the Explorer Program, but their science is closely related to the Physics of the Cosmos Theme.

Launch date: August 2017

The Cosmic-Ray Energetics and Mass for the International Space Station investigation, known as ISS-CREAM, places a highly successful balloon-borne instrument aboard the International Space Station where it gathers an order of magnitude (10 times) more data, which has lower background interference because Earth's atmosphere is no longer interfering. ISS-CREAM's instruments measure the charges of cosmic rays ranging from hydrogen up through iron nuclei, over a broad energy range. The modified balloon instrument is carried aloft on a Space X Dragon Lab cargo supply mission and placed on the Japanese Exposed Module for a period of at least three years.

Launch date: 3 June 2017

The Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) is an International Space Station (ISS) payload devoted to the study of neutron stars through soft X-ray timing. Neutron stars are unique environments in which all four fundamental forces of nature are simultaneously important. The nature of matter under these conditions is a decades-old unsolved problem, one most directly addressed with measurements of the masses and, especially, radii of neutron stars to high precision (i.e., better than 10 percent uncertainty). NICER will enable rotation-resolved spectroscopy of the thermal and non-thermal emissions of neutron stars in the soft (0.2-12 keV) X-ray band with unprecedented sensitivity, probing interior structure, the origins of dynamic phenomena, and the mechanisms that underlie the most powerful cosmic particle accelerators known.

Launch date: 13 June 2012
Swift Swift
Launch date: 20 November 2004
Launch date: 17 October 2002

The European Space Agency LISA observatory


Program News and Announcements

29 July 2020
SMD calls for Expressions of Interest (EOI) from currently funded researchers for augmentations and funded extensions to existing awards to help make up for increased costs directly attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic. »  Details.
29 July 2020
Community Announcement: Intention to Amend ROSES-20 via a Future Appendix for Payloads and Research Investigations on the Surface of the Moon (PRISM). »  Details.
27 July 2020
Snowmass 21 planning underway, with several topical groups on PCOS-related science. »  Details.
23 July 2020
New deadline set for JWST Cycle 1 General Observer proposals. Proposals will be due by 08:00 pm Eastern Time (ET) on Tuesday November 24, 2020. »  Details.
14 July 2020
The NASA LISA Study Team has released a report by their Science Support Task Force analyzing the impact that various levels of access, latency, and user support have on the ability of the US community to maximize the discovery potential of the ESA-led LISA mission. The report was submitted to NASA on 28 Feb 2020. [PDF] »  Details.
8 July 2020
NASA's Science Mission Directorate will hold a virtual community town hall with Associate Administrator for Science Thomas Zurbuchen and other members of the Science leadership team at 3 p.m. EDT Thursday, July 9. »  Details.
7 July 2020
Second workshop to solicit and collect community input to help create a plan and timeline, or "roadmap," for SOFIA's instrument development to be held 27–29 July 2020. »  Details.
2 July 2020
NASA releases final text for Astrophysics Pioneers opportunity. Notices of Intent due 13 August 2020; proposals due 1 October 2020. »  Details.
1 July 2020
NASA releases draft text of Citizen Science Seed Funding Program. Deadline 30 July 2020. »  Details.
30 June 2020
NASA defers XRISM Guest Scientist Program to 2021. »  Details.
30 June 2020
SOFIA Cycle 9 Calls for Proposals Released. Deadline 4 September 2020. »  Details.
26 June 2020
Based on extensive feedback from the community, including the recent COPAG survey and APAC discussion, the Astrophysics Data Analysis Program will be solicited in ROSES-2021. »  Details.

Project News

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  • Web Curator: Pat Tyler
Goddard Space Flight Center