NASA to develop a new ultraviolet telescope

NASA has approved the development of UVEX (Ultraviolet Explorer). However, due to budget problems, its launch will be postponed for two years.

The concept of the UVEX telescope. Source: Caltech

The UVEX project was developed by the California Institute of Technology. The spacecraft will conduct a highly sensitive survey of the entire sky in the ultraviolet wavelength range, which will provide more information about how galaxies and stars develop. UVEX will also be able to quickly target sources of ultraviolet radiation. This will make it possible to record explosions that follow bursts of gravitational waves caused by the merger of neutron stars. The telescope will also be equipped with an ultraviolet spectrograph to study supernovae and massive stars.

The UVEX telescope is being developed as part of the Explorer program. According to NASA’s classification, this is a middle-class mission. Its budget will be USD 300 million. But despite this, the launch of UVEX will be delayed for two years. Instead of the initially planned 2028, the telescope will go into space no earlier than 2030.

The reason is the financial problems that NASA has recently faced. Last year, the organization’s budget, instead of the expected increase, was frozen at the level of 2022. The situation is not likely to change in 2024. In the conditions of such uncertainty, NASA had to freeze and postpone a number of projects until better times. And UVEX was no exception.

Earlier, we told you that NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory had to lay off 8% of its staff due to lack of money.

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