Upcoming and Recently Launched High-Energy Astrophysics Missions

  • Astronomical Roentgen Telescope X-ray Concentrator (ART-XC) [Russia] - a grazing-incidence X-ray telescope produced by a collaboration of IKI RAS and Russian Federal Nuclear Center with participation of NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. ART-XC complements eROSITA, providing additional sensitivity at higher X-rays, from 5 to 30 keV. The main science goals include: (1.) To perform first ever sensitive all-sky survey in 5-11 keV band, detecting thousands of obscured AGNs and unveiling absorbed Galactic sources, such as high-mass X-ray binaries and cataclysmic variables; (2.) Conduct several wide-field surveys of the most interesting regions of X-ray sky such as Galactic Center, Norma Arm, Small Magellanic Cloud etc. ART-XC will also perform deep surveys of Ecliptic Poles. In this dedicated fields ART-XC will provide coverage in a full 5-30 keV range. (3.) To search for transient X-ray sources, using unique "concentrator" approach, that extends telescopes field of view for bright sources. (Launched on July 13, 2019)

  • Athena [ESA] - a large X-ray observatory "offering spatially-resolved X-ray spectroscopy and deep wide-field X-ray spectral imaging with performance greatly exceeding that offered by current X-ray observatories like XMM-Newton and Chandra, or by missions like Hitomi and SRG/eROSITA". Athena was proposed as a concept for a large effective area mission for the ESA science program, incorporating a single telescope with a fixed focal length (12 m) and two interchangeable instruments in the focal plane, a wide-field imager (WFI) and an X-ray integral field unit (X-IFU), i.e., an X-ray calorimeter. On Nov 28th, 2013, ESA selected the science theme "The Hot and Energetic Universe" for its next large satellite mission (L2), and on Jun 27th, 2014, it selected Athena as the mission for this theme. NASA is working with ESA to define the possible NASA contribution to this ESA-led X-ray mission. (To launch in 2028)

  • Dark Matter Particle Explorer (DAMPE) [China] - satellite for high-energy gamma-ray, electron and cosmic rays detection - will measure electrons and photons with much higher energy resolution and energy reach than achievable with existing space experiments in order to identify possible Dark Matter signatures, and will also advance the understanding of the origin and propagation mechanism of high energy cosmic rays, as well make new discoveries in high energy gamma astronomy. (Launched on December 17, 2015)

  • extended Roentgen Survey with an Imaging Telescope Array (e-ROSITA) [Germany] - eROSITA will perform an all-sky medium-energy X-ray survey with a hundred times more sensitivity and a hundred times better angular resolution than the best previous 2-10 keV survey (performed by the A-2 instrument on HEA0-1 in the late 1970's). The main scientific goals include detecting systematically all obscured accreting Black Holes in nearby galaxies, as well as many (~ 3 Million) new, distant active galactic nuclei; detecting the hot intergalactic medium of 50-100 thousand galaxy clusters and groups and hot gas in filaments between clusters, so as to map out the large-scale structure in the Universe for the study of cosmic structure evolution; studying in detail the physics of galactic X-ray source populations, like pre-main sequence stars, supernova remnants and X-ray binaries.(Launched on July 13, 2019)

  • Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope (HXMT) [China] - 1-30 keV (imaging), 20-250 keV (direct demodulation imaging) - will scan the Galactic Plane to find new transient sources and monitor known variable sources, observe X-ray binaries to study the dynamics and emission mechanism in strong gravitational or magnetic fields, and find and study gamma-ray bursts . [More] (Launched on June 15, 2017 and began science operations on January 30, 2018)

  • Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) [NASA] - 2-8 keV polarimeter with proportional counter resolution and sub-arcminute spatial resolution. (To launch in Late 2020)

  • Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) [ESA/NASA] - will be the first space-based gravitational wave observatory. Selected to be ESA's third large-class mission (L3), it will address the science theme of the Gravitational Universe. LISA will consist of three spacecraft separated by 2.5 million km in a triangular formation, following Earth in its orbit around the Sun. LISA is a collaboration of ESA and NASA. (To launch in 2034)

  • Lomonosov [Russian UHE Cosmic Ray and GRB Mission] - includes gamma-ray burst detector and cosmic ray instrument. [More] (Launched on April 28, 2016)

  • Neutron star Interior Composition ExploreR (NICER) [NASA] - this payload for the ISS has large-effective-area concentrator optics in the soft X-ray band, with sub-microsecond timing capability . [More] (Launched on June 3, 2017)

  • Spectrum-Roengten-Gamma (SRG) [Russian/German soft and hard X-ray mission] - includes eROSITA X-ray (0.5-10 keV) telescope (all-sky survey, then pointed observations) [More] (To launch in Fall 2018)

  • Space-based astronomical Variable Object Monitor (SVOM) [Sino-French GRB mission] - with a 4-150 keV coded-mask telescope, a non-imaging gamma-ray (50 keV - 5 MeV) spectrometer, an optical telescope and a microchannel X-ray (0.2 - 10 keV) telescope with a lobster-eye optic. (To Launch in 2021)

  • X-ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM) [JAXA/NASA with ESA participation] - a high-throughput, high-resolution spectroscopy mission, consisting of a narrow-field, high-resolution (Δ(E) ~ 5 - 7 eV) soft X-ray (E ~ 0.3 - 12 keV) spectrometer and a wider-field soft X-ray (0.5 - 12 keV) imager, i.e., similar to the SXS and SXI, respectively, flown on Hitomi . [More] (To Launch in 2022)


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