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NICER Launched and Installed on ISS

Update2: NICER is installed! (see this link). "The installation of NICER clears the way for nearly a month of calibrations before it can start regular science observations." "NICER’s ground team has penciled in July 13 as the first day of the instrument’s 18-month science mission."

Update: NICER was launched on SpaceX Dragon June 3. Dragon successfully docked with ISS the morning of June 5. See this link for launch information. You can read about the successful ISS rendezvous HERE.

The Neutron-star Interior Composition ExploreR (NICER) is NASA's most recent X-ray telescope that will be launched this weekend, and placed on the International Space Station. The primary goal of NICER is to observe spinning neutron stars, also known as pulsars, and detect minute effects in their lightcurves that are described by Einstein's theory of General Relativity. These observations will allow measuring the radii of the neutron stars, which are expected to be as small as 6-10 miles. University of Arizona Professors Feryal Ozel and Dimitrios Psaltis, and their group of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, have been instrumental in defining the characteristics and science goals of this mission, since its inception. In the coming months, they will be using the University of Arizona's El Gato computer cluster to perform one of the key data analyses of the NICER data.