Science Test Branch and the X-ray and Cryogenic Facility (XRCF)
Since 1991, the dedicated and highly skilled crew at NASA's X-ray and Cryogenic Facility have been providing technology development and pre-flight verification of flagship missions like the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the James Webb Space Telescope. The XRCF at Marshall is the world's largest x-ray optical test facility and provides evaluation and readiness testing for advanced telescope mirrors, video guidance systems, and other space structures in thermal environments to 20 Kelvin.
Marshall's X-ray & Cryogenic Facility Selected to Support ATHENA
NASA has agreed in principle to provide the X-ray & Cryogenic Facility (XRCF) to the European Space Agency (ESA) in support of their Advanced Telescope for High Energy Astrophysics (ATHENA) mission. Originally constructed to perform the ground verification of the Chandra X-ray Observatory, the XRCF remains the world’s largest X-ray telescope calibration facility and is uniquely suited to perform the evaluation of Athena’s X-ray optics. The facility will be utilized to evaluate two Engineering Models (FY22), complete qualification testing on a Qualification Model (FY25), and perform the verification and calibration of the Flight Mirror (FY26-29).