GEO-X (GEOspace X-ray imager) is a 50 kg-class small satellite to image the global Earth’s magnetosphere in X-rays via solar wind charge exchange emission. A 12U CubeSat will be injected into an elliptical orbit with an apogee distance of ∼40 Earth radii. In order to observe the diffuse soft X-ray emission in 0.3-2 keV and to verify X-ray imaging of the dayside structures of the magnetosphere such as cusps, magnetosheaths and magnetopauses which are identified statistically by in-situ satellite observations, an original light-weight X-ray imaging spectrometer (∼10 kg, ∼10 W, ∼10×10×30 cm) will be carried. The payload is composed of a ultra light-weight MEMS Wolter type-I telescope (∼4×4 deg2 FOV, <10 arcmin resolution) and a high speed CMOS sensor with a thin optical blocking filter (∼2×2 cm2 , frame rate ∼20 ms, energy resolution <80 eV FWHM at 0.6 keV). An aimed launch year is 2023-25 corresponding to the 25th solar maximum.
Toward an era of x-ray astronomy, next-generation x-ray optics are indispensable. To meet a demand for telescopes lighter than the foil optics but with a better angular resolution <1 arcmin, we are developing micropore x-ray optics based on micromaching technologies. Using sidewalls of micropores through a thin silicon wafer, this type can be the lightest x-ray telescope ever achieved. Two Japanese missions, ORBIS and GEO-X, will carry this telescope. ORBIS is a small x-ray astronomy mission to monitor supermassive blackholes, while GEO-X is a small exploration mission of the Earth’s magnetosphere. Both missions need an ultralightweight (<1 kg) telescope with moderately good angular resolution (<10 arcmin) at an extremely short focal length (<30 cm). We plan to demonstrate this type of telescope in these two missions around 2020.