Images & Movies
Artist's Impression of XTE in Action
RXTE is a three axis stabilized spacecraft with two high-gain communication antennas that continually track TDRSS east and TDRSS west. As it orbits the Earth, the spacecraft remains inertially fixed, the solar arrays normal to the sun-line, and instrument detectors pointed to their target. RXTE has several different instruments on board. The All-Sky Monitor, or ASM, independently rotates and will continuously scan 70% of the sky in each orbit. Data are observed in the 2-10 keV energy range. These data are used by the science team to identify new sources or changes of known sources. The Proportional Counter Array, or PCA, has five proportional counter units that observe sources in the X-ray energy range of 2-60 keV. The PCA data will be used to study changes in source behavior on day-to-year time scales. The High Energy X-ray Timing Experiment, or HEXTE, collects data in the 20-200 keV X-ray energy range. Two independent clusters alternately move on and off X-ray sources.