Status Report

NASA Community Announcement on NuSTAR Restart

By SpaceRef Editor
September 21, 2007
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NASA Community Announcement on NuSTAR Restart

Alan Stern, Associate Administrator for Science Mission Directorate, and Jon Morse, Director of Astrophysics, have approved the restart of the NuSTAR SMEX mission.

NuSTAR is the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array. The Principal Investigator is Prof. Fiona Harrison of Caltech. NuSTAR is a focusing hard X-ray telescope whose science objectives include conducting a census for black holes on all scales, mapping radioactive material in young supernova remnants, and exposing relativistic jets of particles from the most extreme active galaxies.

NuSTAR was selected for a Phase A concept study through a proposal submitted in response to NASA’s 2003 SMEX AO (AO 03-OSS-02). NuSTAR was one of five missions selected to conduct a competitive Phase A concept study. The NuSTAR project completed Phase A and was downselected into an extended Phase A. In February 2006, the NuSTAR project was terminated without prejudice while still in extended Phase A. The decision to terminate was in response to changes in the NASA budget and was not based on consideration of NuSTAR’s scientific merit or technical feasibility.

NASA still plans to select three SMEX missions and one or more Missions of Opportunity through the 2007 SMEX AO (NHH07ZDA003O). In order to accommodate the Explorer Program’s share of NuSTAR’s funding requirements, it is likely that the launch dates for the three SMEX missions selected in response to the 2007 SMEX AO will be several months later than they would have been without the decision to restart NuSTAR. The exact impact will depend on the funding requirements of the missions selected through the 2007 SMEX AO.

The launch dates anticipated in the SMEX AO (assuming SMEX missions are selected at the cost cap with typical funding profiles) are:

NuSTAR August 2011

SMEX-12 2012

SMEX-13 2013

SMEX-14 2015

Missions of Opportunity No change

Direct questions specifically regarding the SMEX AO to: Dr. Hashima Hasan, Explorer Program Scientist, Astrophysics Division, Science Mission Directorate, NASA, Washington, DC 20546-0001; E-mail: [email protected] (subject line to read “SMEX AO”).

SpaceRef staff editor.