Upcoming and Recently Launched High-Energy Astrophysics Missions

  • Athena [ESA} - a large X-ray observatory "offering spatially-resolved X-ray spectroscopy and deep wide-field X-ray spectral imaging with performance greatly exceeding that offered by current X-ray observatories like XMM-Newton and Chandra, or by missions like Hitomi and SRG/eROSITA". Athena was proposed as a concept for a large effective area mission for the ESA science program, incorporating a single telescope with a fixed focal length (12 m) and two interchangeable instruments in the focal plane, a wide-field imager (WFI) and an X-ray integral field unit (X-IFU), i.e., an X-ray calorimeter. On Nov 28th, 2013, ESA selected the science theme "The Hot and Energetic Universe" for its next large satellite mission (L2), and on Jun 27th, 2014, it selected Athena as the mission for this theme. NASA is working with ESA to define the possible NASA contribution to this ESA-led X-ray mission. (To launch in 2028)

  • Dark Matter Particle Explorer (DAMPE) [China] - satellite for high-energy gamma-ray, electron and cosmic rays detection - will measure electrons and photons with much higher energy resolution and energy reach than achievable with existing space experiments in order to identify possible Dark Matter signatures, and will also advance the understanding of the origin and propagation mechanism of high energy cosmic rays, as well make new discoveries in high energy gamma astronomy. (Launched on December 17, 2015)

  • Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope (HXMT) [China] - 1-30 keV (imaging), 20-250 keV (direct demodulation imaging) - will scan the Galactic Plane to find new transient sources and monitor known variable sources, observe X-ray binaries to study the dynamics and emission mechanism in strong gravitational or magnetic fields, and find and study gamma-ray bursts . [More] (Launched on June 15, 2017 and began science operations on January 30, 2018)

  • Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) [NASA] - 2-8 keV polarimeter with proportional counter resolution and sub-arcminute spatial resolution. (To launch in Late 2020)

  • Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) [ESA/NASA] - will be the first space-based gravitational wave observatory. Selected to be ESA's third large-class mission (L3), it will address the science theme of the Gravitational Universe. LISA will consist of three spacecraft separated by 2.5 million km in a triangular formation, following Earth in its orbit around the Sun. LISA is a collaboration of ESA and NASA. (To launch in 2034)

  • Lomonosov [Russian UHE Cosmic Ray and GRB Mission] - includes gamma-ray burst detector and cosmic ray instrument. [More] (Launched on April 28, 2016)

  • Neutron star Interior Composition ExploreR (NICER) [NASA] - this payload for the ISS has large-effective-area concentrator optics in the soft X-ray band, with sub-microsecond timing capability . [More] (Launched on June 3, 2017)

  • Spectrum-Roengten-Gamma (SRG) [Russian/German soft and hard X-ray mission] - includes eROSITA X-ray (0.5-10 keV) telescope (all-sky survey, then pointed observations) [More] (To launch in Fall 2018)

  • Space-based astronomical Variable Object Monitor (SVOM) [Sino-French GRB mission] - with a 4-150 keV coded-mask telescope, a non-imaging gamma-ray (50 keV - 5 MeV) spectrometer, an optical telescope and a microchannel X-ray (0.2 - 10 keV) telescope with a lobster-eye optic. (To Launch in 2021)

  • X-ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM) [JAXA/NASA with ESA participation] - a high-throughput, high-resolution spectroscopy mission, consisting of a narrow-field, high-resolution (Δ(E) ~ 5 - 7 eV) soft X-ray (E ~ 0.3 - 12 keV) spectrometer and a wider-field soft X-ray (0.5 - 12 keV) imager, i.e., similar to the SXS and SXI, respectively, flown on Hitomi . [More] (To Launch in 2022)


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