China on 15 June 2017 successfully launched its first X-ray Space Telescope named 'Insight' to study black holes, pulsars and gamma-ray bursts.
This Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope (HXMT) was carried into orbit by Long March-4B rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China's Gobi Desert.
Highlights of the X-ray Space Telescope 'Insight'
• The 2.5-tonne telescope will allow Chinese scientists to observe magnetic fields and the interiors of pulsars and better understand the evolution of black holes.
• It will also help scientists to search for gamma-ray bursts corresponding to gravitational waves and study how to pulsars can be used for spacecraft navigation.
• Insight is more capable of finding black holes and neutron stars that emit bright X-rays than other space telescopes as it has a larger detection area and a broader energy range which makes it easier to scan the galaxy.
• The HXMT carries three x-ray telescopes observing at energies ranging from 20 to 200 kilo-electron volts as well as an instrument to monitor the space environment.
• While orbiting 550 kilometres above the planet over an expected operating lifetime of 4 years, the HXMT will perform an all-sky survey that is expected to discover a thousand x-ray sources.
The HMXT Insight is the last of the cluster of four space science missions covered under China’s 12th 5-year plan that were developed by the National Space Science Centre (NSSC) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.
The other three are a dark matter probe, a collection of microgravity experiments and a test of long-range quantum entanglement.
What: Launched by China
When: 15 June 2017