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NASA to Launch Neutron Star Research Mission in February 2017

deep_spaceNASA‘s Kennedy Space Center in Florida has received the Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer technology the space agency aims to send to the International Space Station in February 2017 aboard a SpaceX cargo resupply spacecraft.

The NICER mission seeks to explore the astrophysics of neutron stars and test a space navigation technology intended to support NASA’s future deep-space missions, NASA said Thursday.

The payload will carry an X-ray Timing Instrument that is designed with 56 co-aligned optics and sensors built to offer scientists a view into neutron star emissions.

NASA plans to use the instrument’s astrophysical observations to test models of neutron star interiors such as high-density matter that laboratories cannot produce, according to NASA.

NICER will be included in the SpaceX-11 cargo delivery mission to the ISS in February 2017 and will operate from the space station’s ExPRESS Logistics Carrier 2 after the launch.

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