11 October 2004 Generation-X: mission and technology studies for an x-ray observatory vision mission
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Abstract
The new frontier in astrophysics is the study of the very first stars, galaxies and black holes in the early Universe. These objects are beyond the grasp of the current generation of X-ray telescopes such as Chandra, and so the Generation-X Vision Mission has been proposed as an X-ray observatory which will be capable of detecting these earliest objects. Xray imaging and spectroscopy of such distant objects will require an X-ray telescope with large collecting area and high angular resolution. The Generation-X concept has 100 m2 collecting area at 1 keV (1000 times larger than Chandra) and 0.1 arcsecond angular resolution (several times better than Chandra and 50 times better than the resolution goal for Constellation-X). The baseline mission involves four 8 m diameter telescopes operating at Sun-Earth L2. Such large telescopes will require either robotic or human-assisted in-flight assembly. To achieve the required effective area with launchable mass, very lightweight grazing incidence X-ray optics must be developed, having an areal density 100 times lower than in Chandra, with perhaps 0.1 mm thick mirrors requiring on-orbit figure control. The suite of available detectors for Generation-X should include a large-area high resolution imager, a cryogenic imaging spectrometer and a grating spectrometer.
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Robert A. Cameron, Marshall W. Bautz, Roger J. Brissenden, Martin S. Elvis, Giuseppina Fabbiano, Enectali Figueroa-Feliciano, Paul Gorenstein, Robert Petre, Paul B. Reid, Daniel S. Schwartz, Nicholas E. White, William W. Zhang, "Generation-X: mission and technology studies for an x-ray observatory vision mission", Proc. SPIE 5488, UV and Gamma-Ray Space Telescope Systems, (11 October 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.552641; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.552641
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