Chandra Observatory marks 10 years in space


  • Randy Showstack


NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, originally envisioned as a 5-year mission, was deployed into an elliptical orbit around Earth 10 years ago, on 23 July 1999. The most powerful X-ray telescope yet, Chandra has provided a peak into the high-energy universe and has independently confirmed the existence of dark energy. Martin Weisskopf, Chandra project scientist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., said discoveries made possible by the observatory “have made dramatic changes to our understanding of the universe and its constituents.”

“The Great Observatories program—of which Chandra is a major part—shows how astronomers need as many tools as possible to tackle the big questions out there,” said Ed Weiler, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. The Hubble Space Telescope, Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, and Spitzer Space Telescope are NASA's other Great Observatories.