The Chandra X-ray Observatory
Chandra Observatory (formerly called the Advanced X-ray Astrophysics
Facility - AXAF) the world's most powerful X-ray telescope, was
launched on July 23, 1999 to view X-ray sources from space. Astronomers
must have this observatory in space because the Earth's atmosphere
absorbs and blocks celestial X-ray radiation from reaching the ground.
Chandra flies 200 times higher than the Hubble Space Telescope
and its orbit takes it one third of the way to the Moon. The cylindrical
glass mirrors in Chandra are the largest of their kind and the smoothest
ever created. Chandra and its upper stage was the heaviest payload
ever launched on the Shuttle.
The Chandra design and development program was managed by MSFC.
The observatory's telescope was tested and certified at the MSFC
X-ray calibration facility.