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NASA Awards Launch Services Contract for Roman Space Telescope to Elon Musk’s SpaceX

NASA Awards Launch Services Contract for Roman Space Telescope to Elon Musk’s SpaceX
NASA Launch Services, or NLS, II is an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract that has tentatively specified the launch date of the telescope as October 2026.

 

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, on Wednesday, announced that it has awarded the launch services contract for the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope to Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or SpaceX.

 

NASA Launch Services, or NLS, II is an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract that has tentatively specified the launch date of the telescope as October 2026.

 

The total cost of the launch is approximately $255 million, including the launch service and other mission-related costs, the American space research organisation said in a release. The launch will be done using a Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the release added.

 

NASA’s Launch Services Program and Musk’s SpaceX tweeted about the same.

 

 

 

What is Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope?

 

Formerly known as WFIRST, or the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope, the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope is a next-gen observatory that will solve pressing cosmic questions. It was renamed to honor NASA’s Dr. Nancy Grace Roman, whose extraordinary work paved the way for large space telescopes.

(Image Source: Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope website)
(Image Source: Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope website)

The telescope’s mission is to create enormous panoramas of the universe to reveal secrets of dark energy and dark matter, as well as to look for exoplanets.

 

Further, it aims to address a host of other topics related to astrophysics and planetary science. The 2010 Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey named it the highest-priority big space project.

 

“Roman’s gigantic field of view will enable the mission to create infrared images that are around 200 times larger than the Hubble Space Telescope can provide while revealing the same rich level of detail,” according to another release by NASA.

 

“The spacecraft is expected to collect far more data than any other NASA astrophysics mission before it,” it added.

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