HXMT satellite model passed acceptance review

The Proto-Flight Model (PFM) of the HXMT satellite passed the acceptance review on December 16, which marked the approval of the satellite design and the official launch of the satellite production.

A panel of domestic experts reviewed the PFM of the HXMT satellite. The HXMT team reported on the R&D of the satellite PFM and the final design of the satellite. After discussing and reviewing the documents, the panel concluded that all the technical specifications met the mission requirements and the risk was under control. Prior to this review, the HXMT payloads and other segments had already passed the review.

As China's first astronomical satellite, HXMT will perform an all-sky broad band X-ray survey and pointed observations. In the survey, about one thousand hard X-ray sources can be detected, while in the pointed observations some black holes and neutron stars will be studied in details.

The HXMT project was officially approved in 2011 and will be launched in two years from now. As the scientific user of HXMT, the Institute of High Energy Physics leads the development of the payloads and the construction of the scientific ground segments. The China Academy of Space Technology is in charge of the satellite platform.

The mechanical model of HXMT in dynamical test (Image by IHEP)

CNSA experts reviewed the Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope Project

    A panel of experts led by China National Space Administration (CNSA) visited the Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope (HXMT) Project on August 18, 2011.

    As China's first astronomical satellite, HXMT was officially approved early this year. For such a satellite, the reliability and performance are the top priority. The HXMT researchers reported to the panel on the current status and future plans for the payloads and ground segments, including measures to control the quality of the instruments and software.

    The experts made inquires about the scientific significance of the project, technical specifications of the payloads, as well as the difficulties and problems. Answers were given and detailed explanations were made. Prof. WANG Huanyu, Associate Director of IHEP, also introduced the scientific activities at IHEP and at the Division for Particle Astrophysics.

    After the review meeting, the experts toured the Beijing Electron Positron Collider, the newly-built commissioning hall for HXMT payloads, and HXMT prototypes. The experts were fully convinced that IHEP would be capable to finish the job and achieve the fixed targets of the project.

           experts visit the newly-built commissioning hall for HXMT payloads

China and ESAC exchange experience on satellite instrument calibration and science operations

    About 40 scientists from China, the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) and its member nations gathered in Madrid from March 7th to 8th to participate in the China-ESAC astronomic satellite instrument calibration and science operations workshop. Planned at the China-ESA space science bilateral meeting in 2010, the workshop aimed to optimize the Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope (HXMT) Project based on the needs of instrument calibration and science operations.

    China has not launched any space astronomic satellite yet, and so has little experience as to the science operations and instrument calibration. During the workshop, the Chinese participants reported on the problems and challenges that need to be tackled, the ESAC scientists delivered 22 talks covering a wide range of science operations and calibration of ESA astronomic satellites, such as the contributions from the users' group to project development, software development and maintenance in a distributed environment, X-ray calibration and data processing, etc. After extended discussions, the Chinese attendees received a lot of valuable suggestions.

    Prof. David Southwood, ESA Director of Science and Robotic Exploration, spoke highly of the serious and active attitude of the Chinese scientists in the workshop, which would also encourage ESAC staff in their future research. It was decided that a joint working group would be set up and three or four experts from each side would be chosen to draft plans for collaboration in the next year for the official approval of CAS and ESA.

    After the meeting, the IHEP attendees visited the Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica and University of Ferrara in Italy to discuss the HXMT instruments and possible collaboration between the two institutes. Minutes of the meeting were also signed.


groupphoto of the China-ESAC astronomic satellite instrument calibration and science operations workshop