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
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.