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Instrument developed by Scientists at NASA/USRA scheduled for Launch to ISS on June 1


The Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) instrument that is soon headed to the International Space Station will give astronomers more insight into neutron stars—helping us determine what is under the surface. The mission will study neutron stars, the densest known objects in the cosmos. In addition to its cutting-edge astrophysics investigations, the embedded Station Explorer for X-ray Timing and Navigation Technology (SEXTANT) component of the instrument will demonstrate a technological first: real-time, autonomous spacecraft navigation using pulsars as beacons. 

NICER will be aboard the Space X Dragon Cargo Spacecraft lifting off a Falcon Rocket at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It is scheduled to depart for the International Space Station on June 1, 2017. Zaven Arzoumanian, the Principal Investigator on the project, was involved in this innovative development while he was with Universities Space Research Association along with scientists from NASA.