IXPE is scheduled to launch no earlier than 1 a.m. EST Thursday, Dec. 9, on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Live launch coverage will begin at 12:30 a.m. on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website. On Tuesday, Dec. 7, NASA will hold a payload briefing at 1 p.m. and a prelaunch news briefing at 5:30 p.m.
The IXPE spacecraft includes three space telescopes with sensitive detectors capable of measuring the polarization of cosmic X-rays, allowing scientists to answer fundamental questions about extremely complex environments in space where gravitational, electric, and magnetic fields are at their limits. The project is a collaboration between NASA and the Italian Space Agency.
All media participation in news conferences will be remote except where noted otherwise. For the protection of employees and journalists in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Kennedy Press Site facilities will be open to a limited number of journalists on a first-come, first-served basis.
Full mission coverage is as follows (all times Eastern):
Tuesday, Dec. 7
1 p.m. – IXPE Payload Briefing, with the following participants:
- Elisabetta Cavazzuti, ASI IXPE program manager, Italian Space Agency
- Luca Baldini, Italian co-principal investigator, National Institute for Nuclear Physics
- Brian Ramsey, deputy principal investigator, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center
- MacKenzie Ferrie, IXPE program manager, Ball Aerospace
For the payload briefing dial-in number and passcode, please contact the Kennedy newsroom at: [email protected] no later than 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 6. Members of the public also may ask questions, which may be answered in real-time during the segment, by using #AskNASA on social media. A limited number of seats will be available to media on-site.
5:30 p.m. – IXPE Prelaunch News Conference with the following participants:
- Sandra Connelly, deputy associate administrator for science, NASA Headquarters
- Martin Weisskopf, IXPE principal investigator, Marshall
- Makenzie Lystrup, vice president and general manager, civil space, Ball Aerospace
- Tim Dunn, launch director, NASA’s Launch Services Program
- Julianna Scheiman, director, civil satellite missions, SpaceX
- Mike McAleenan, 45th Weather Squadron, Space Launch Delta 45
For the prelaunch news conference dial-in number and passcode, please contact the Kennedy newsroom at: [email protected] no later than noon Tuesday, Dec. 7. Members of the public also may ask questions, which may be answered in real-time during the segment, by using #AskNASA on social media. A limited number of seats will be available to media on-site.
Thursday, Dec. 9
12:30 a.m. – NASA TV live launch coverage begins.
Audio only of the news conferences and launch coverage will be carried on the NASA “V” circuits, which may be accessed by dialing 321-867-1220, -1240, -1260 or -7135. On launch day, “mission audio,” countdown activities without NASA TV launch commentary, will be carried on 321-867-7135. A “clean feed” of the launch without NASA TV commentary will be carried on the NASA TV media channel.
For questions about countdown coverage, contact the Kennedy newsroom at: 321-867-2468. Follow countdown coverage on the IXPE launch blog at:
Members of the public can register to attend the launch virtually. NASA’s virtual guest program for IXPE includes curated launch resources, a behind-the-scenes look at the mission, and the opportunity for a virtual guest launch passport stamp.
As we finalize launch preparations, we are excited to invite the public to join our virtual NASA Social for IXPE on Facebook. Stay up to date on the latest mission activities, interact with NASA and IXPE team members in real-time, and watch the launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that will boost IXPE toward its destination.
Watch and Engage on Social Media
Stay connected with the mission on social media, and let people know you’re following it on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using the hashtag #IXPE and tag these accounts:
Para obtener información sobre cobertura en español en el Centro Espacial Kennedy o si desea solicitar entrevistas en español, comuníquese con Antonia Jaramillo 321-501-8425.
NASA selected IXPE as a Small Explorer mission in 2017. NASA’s Launch Services Program is managing this launch. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the IXPE mission. Ball Aerospace, headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado, manages spacecraft operations with support from the University of Colorado at Boulder. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the Explorers Program for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The U.S. Space Force’s Space Launch Delta 45 provides range support for this launch. SpaceX is providing the launch vehicle for this mission.
To learn more about the IXPE mission, visit:
Karen Fox / Liz Landau
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.