Author Topic: Athena X Ray Telescope  (Read 3399 times)

Offline Star One

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Athena X Ray Telescope
« on: 06/27/2014 11:59 am »
Quote
Europe has initiated the process that should lead to the biggest X-ray space telescope ever built.

Dubbed Athena, the satellite will be some 12m in length and weigh about five tonnes when launched in 2028.

The European Space Agency's (Esa) Science Programme Committee selected the project at a meeting in Toulouse.

Design work now will confirm the technologies and industrial capability needed to construct the mission, which is costed at over one billion euros.

"It's a tremendously exciting moment for the team; it's not every day you have a billion-euro decision go in your favour," said Prof Paul Nandra, the chairman of the Athena Coordination Group.

"We've just got to build it and get it up there, and as long as we do our job right, there's nothing that should stop that," he told BBC News.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-28053831

It ponders how this maybe launched as Ariane 5 may not be in service by then and uncertainty surrounds the definition of Ariane 6.

Offline woods170

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Re: Athena X Ray Telescope
« Reply #1 on: 06/27/2014 01:02 pm »
Quote
Europe has initiated the process that should lead to the biggest X-ray space telescope ever built.

Dubbed Athena, the satellite will be some 12m in length and weigh about five tonnes when launched in 2028.

The European Space Agency's (Esa) Science Programme Committee selected the project at a meeting in Toulouse.

Design work now will confirm the technologies and industrial capability needed to construct the mission, which is costed at over one billion euros.

"It's a tremendously exciting moment for the team; it's not every day you have a billion-euro decision go in your favour," said Prof Paul Nandra, the chairman of the Athena Coordination Group.

"We've just got to build it and get it up there, and as long as we do our job right, there's nothing that should stop that," he told BBC News.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-28053831

It ponders how this maybe launched as Ariane 5 may not be in service by then and uncertainty surrounds the definition of Ariane 6.
You seem to be forgetting that ESA is actually not obliged to launch this science mission on an ESA launch vehicle. Several ESA science missions lifted off (even in recent years) not on Ariane but on Russian and even US launchers.

Put simply: this mission being capable of being launched on Ariane 6 or not is a non-issue.
« Last Edit: 06/27/2014 01:04 pm by woods170 »

Offline bolun

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Re: Athena X Ray Telescope
« Reply #2 on: 06/27/2014 01:14 pm »
Athena to study the hot and energetic Universe

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Athena_to_study_the_hot_and_energetic_Universe

Quote
ESA has selected the Athena advanced telescope for high-energy astrophysics as its second ‘Large-class’ science mission.

The observatory will study the hot and energetic Universe and takes the ‘L2’ slot in ESA’s Cosmic Vision 2015–25 plan, with a launch foreseen in 2028.

Quote
Now officially selected for L2, Athena now moves into a study phase. Once the mission design and costing have been completed, it will eventually be proposed for ‘adoption’ in around 2019, before the start of construction.

After launch, Athena will travel to its operational orbit around the gravitationally semi-stable location in space some 1.5 million kilometres beyond Earth as seen from the Sun – a position coincidentally known as L2. ESA’s Herschel, Planck and Gaia missions have also used L2 orbits.

Offline Nomadd

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Re: Athena X Ray Telescope
« Reply #3 on: 06/27/2014 01:19 pm »
 I notice they never mention an Atlas 552. Is there some reason that combination isn't practical?
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Offline Star One

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Athena X Ray Telescope
« Reply #4 on: 06/27/2014 01:23 pm »
Quote
Europe has initiated the process that should lead to the biggest X-ray space telescope ever built.

Dubbed Athena, the satellite will be some 12m in length and weigh about five tonnes when launched in 2028.

The European Space Agency's (Esa) Science Programme Committee selected the project at a meeting in Toulouse.

Design work now will confirm the technologies and industrial capability needed to construct the mission, which is costed at over one billion euros.

"It's a tremendously exciting moment for the team; it's not every day you have a billion-euro decision go in your favour," said Prof Paul Nandra, the chairman of the Athena Coordination Group.

"We've just got to build it and get it up there, and as long as we do our job right, there's nothing that should stop that," he told BBC News.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-28053831

It ponders how this maybe launched as Ariane 5 may not be in service by then and uncertainty surrounds the definition of Ariane 6.
You seem to be forgetting that ESA is actually not obliged to launch this science mission on an ESA launch vehicle. Several ESA science missions lifted off (even in recent years) not on Ariane but on Russian and even US launchers.

Put simply: this mission being capable of being launched on Ariane 6 or not is a non-issue.

I was unaware of this.

Could a Proton or by then Angara do the job?
« Last Edit: 06/27/2014 01:24 pm by Star One »

Offline simonbp

Re: Athena X Ray Telescope
« Reply #5 on: 06/27/2014 01:26 pm »
I notice they never mention an Atlas 552. Is there some reason that combination isn't practical?

It's not clear if Atlas V (in its current form) will still be flying three years from now, let alone fourteen years from now...

Offline baldusi

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Re: Athena X Ray Telescope
« Reply #6 on: 06/27/2014 04:55 pm »
I notice they never mention an Atlas 552. Is there some reason that combination isn't practical?
Atlas 552 is optimized for LEO, all this missions are usually L2 or at least some form of high orbit. I can't think of any current mission that might actually need a 552.

Offline Burninate

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Re: Athena X Ray Telescope
« Reply #7 on: 06/27/2014 10:18 pm »
http://userpages.irap.omp.eu/~dbarret/ATHENA/The_Athena_Mission_Proposal.pdf
http://athena2013.irap.omp.eu/PRESENTATIONS/ap_presentation_static_final.pdf

I will repeat my usual comment on these sorts of things.  I have become convinced that for most astronomical observatories, building a bunch of duplicate units, while it may raise overall mission price slightly, is essential to maximizing return on investment and mitigating risk.  Most of the cost is in tooling, R&D, testing - sunk into the capability to build this sort of instrument;  Only building one is generally a bit of a waste.

ATHENA has a *long* heritage, beginning with Constellation-X and Xeus in 2001.  A 27 year development cycle, unless it gets delayed or merged / demerged once again.  I wouldn't want to work on such a project without tenure.
« Last Edit: 06/27/2014 10:44 pm by Burninate »

Offline Alpha_Centauri

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Re: Athena X Ray Telescope
« Reply #8 on: 06/28/2014 10:37 am »
You seem to be forgetting that ESA is actually not obliged to launch this science mission on an ESA launch vehicle. Several ESA science missions lifted off (even in recent years) not on Ariane but on Russian and even US launchers.

Put simply: this mission being capable of being launched on Ariane 6 or not is a non-issue.

There is a big difference between ESA preferring to launch missions on foreign rockets due to the cost of A5, and not having a choice but to use a foreign partner.  Currently ESA usually selects a European backup in case things go wrong, even with Euro-Soyuz.

Not being able to launch a payload Europe will be investing a lot of money in will be politically difficult.
« Last Edit: 06/28/2014 10:38 am by Alpha_Centauri »

Offline bolun

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Re: Athena X Ray Telescope
« Reply #9 on: 02/06/2019 08:48 pm »
Athena mirror module

This ‘mirror module’ – formed of 140 industrial silicon mirror plates, stacked together by a sophisticated robotic system – is destined to form part of the optical system of ESA’s Athena X-ray observatory.

Due to launch in 2031, Athena will probe 10 to 100 times deeper into the cosmos than previous X-ray missions, to observe the very hottest, high-energy celestial objects. To achieve this the mission requires entirely new X-ray optics technology.

Energetic X-rays don’t behave like typical light waves: they don’t reflect in a standard mirror. Instead they can only be reflected at shallow angles, like stones skimming along water. So multiple mirrors must be stacked together to focus them: ESA’s 1999-launched XMM-Newton has three sets of 58 gold-plated nickel mirrors, each nestled inside one another. But to see further, Athena needs tens of thousands of densely-packed mirror plates.

A new technology had to be invented:  ‘silicon pore optics’, based on stacking together mirror plates made from industrial silicon wafers, which are normally used to manufacture silicon chips.

It was developed at ESA’s ESTEC technical centre in the Netherlands, and patented by ESA, invented by an ESA staff member with the founder of cosine Research, the Dutch company leading an European consortium developing Athena’s optics.

The technology was refined through a series of ESA R&D projects, and all process steps have been demonstrated to be suitable for industrial production. The wafers have grooves cut into them, leaving stiffening ribs to form the ‘pores’ the X-rays will pass through. They are given a slight curvature, tapering towards a desired point so the complete flight mirror can focus X-ray images.

https://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2019/02/Athena_mirror_module

Image credit: ESA/cosine Research

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: Athena X Ray Telescope
« Reply #10 on: 02/07/2019 04:46 am »
ATHENA has a *long* heritage, beginning with Constellation-X and Xeus in 2001.  A 27 year development cycle, unless it gets delayed or merged / demerged once again.  I wouldn't want to work on such a project without tenure.

Now launching in 2031, giving it a 30 year development cycle!
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

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