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.

ECHNICIANS REMOVE FINAL SIX JWST MIRRORS TESTED AT MSFC X-RAY AND CRYOGENIC FACILITY
James Webb Telescope Mirror Array at XRCF

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).

ATHENA

Science Test Branch Projects

Chandra

Cryogenic Mirror Development

Hinode

Solar X-ray Imager

Cryogenic Structure Tech Readiness Demos

James Webb Space Telescope - Primary Mirror Segment Assemblies

James Webb Space Telescope - Primary Mirror Backplane Support Structure

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