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China launches its first X-ray space telescope

China has been making great strides in its space program in recent times, and in another such development, it has launched its first X-ray space telescope. The X-ray space telescope will primarily be utilized for understating the evolution of black holes, strong magnetic fields and gamma-ray bursts. China has named its first X-ray space telescope as ‘Insight’ which weighs 2.5 tons and is classified as a Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope (HXMT). The telescope will have an earth orbit of 550 km. The telescope was launched using a March-4B rocket from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China’s Gobi Desert.

The telescope will also be used to study the characteristics of pulsars and identify gamma-ray bursts corresponding to gravitational waves. Chinese state media said that the successful launch of the X-ray space telescope is a result of several years of efforts of Chinese scientists. The successful launch is expected to give a significant boost to China’s space program. Speaking about the launch, Chief designer of the payload, Lu Fangjun said, ‘Insight’ can be regarded as a small observatory in space, as it carries a trio of detectors — the high energy X-ray telescope (HE), the medium energy X-ray telescope (ME) and the low energy X-ray telescope (LE) — that cover a broad energy band from 1 keV to 250 keV.”

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