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Balloon-Borne Experiments

inflating The X-ray group at MSFC has benefitted from a long and ongoing series of balloon-borne experiments designed to test the performance and hardiness of detectors and telescopes under harsh environments. The earliest experiments began with the first and second generation Marshall Imaging X-ray Experiments (MIXE). MIXE1 flew from Alice Springs, Australia in 1989 and from Palestine, Texas in 1993. MIXE2 flew from Ft. Sumner, NM in 1997.
The first flight using MSFC-developed X-ray focusing optics was performed in May 2001. The result was the first high-energy focused images of cosmic sources (140kb pdf). That first flight utilized only a pair of nested High-Energy Replicated Optics (HERO) telescopes with Gas-Scintillation Proportional Counter detectors. The current configuration consists of 12 mirror shells in each of 8 mirror modules co-aligned to 8 high-pressure gas detectors. The system effective area is nearly 100 sq. cm at 40 keV. Pictures from preparation, flight, and recovery operations of the 2000, 2001, and 2005 balloon campaigns are available.
Editor: Dr. Douglas Swartz
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