Space-Based Observatories




Brief summary overview of Chandra with group members and images is forthcoming.







The DSCOVR (Deep Space Climate Observatory Project) spacecraft will carry a Faraday Cup plasma detector built at MIT. The current launch data is in late 2014. The instrument will make solar wind measurements with a time resolution of less than 1 second. The mission goal is space weather prediction.

Group members:  Alan Lazarus, John Richardson

The Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer was a NASA mission that was used to investigate bright cosmic X-ray sources by observing how their X-ray intensities change over a broad range of timescales from milliseconds to years.  Three instruments designed to perform the observations were carried into space on a spacecraft that was launched in December, 1995, and that operated until January, 2012.







The Suzaku X-ray Observatory, launched in July 2005, is an orbiting X-ray telescope developed jointly by the Institute for Space and Astronautical at the Japan Aerospace and Exploration Agency (ISAS/JAXA) and by NASA.  The X-ray Imaging Spectrometer (XIS), one of three science instruments aboard Suzaku, was developed and built by a collaboration involving the MIT Kavli Institute (then the Center for Space Research), ISAS/JAXA, and the Universities of Osaka and Kyoto.  Possessing a unique combination of high effective area, good energy resolution, and low particle background, the XIS aboard

The Voyager spacecraft were launched in 1977 and carry Faraday Cups built at MIT. Voyager 1 encountered Jupiter in 1979 and Saturn in 1980 and continues toward the interstellar medium, although the MIT experiment ceased working shortly after the Saturn encounter. Voyager 2 encountered Jupiter in 1979, Saturn in 1981, Uranus in 1986 and Neptune in 1989, completing the grand tour of the solar system.

The Wind spacecraft carries a Faraday Cup plasma detector built at MIT. The spacecraft was launched in 1994 and is now in a halo orbit about the L1 Lagrange point 200 Earth radii in front of the Earth. The instrument provides plasma densities, speeds, and temperatures for protons and alpha particles.

Group members:  Alan Lazarus, John Richardson, Leslie Finck