A forklift is enlisted to transfer the environmentally controlled shipping container enclosing NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) from the airlock to the high bay of processing facility 1555 at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) in California.
The spacecraft arrived at 7:52 a.m. PST after a cross-country trip from Orbital Sciences' manufacturing plant in Dulles, Va., which began Jan. 24. The spacecraft will be offloaded into the processing hangar, joining the Pegasus XL rocket that is set to carry it to space. After NuSTAR is removed from its shipping container, checkout and other processing activity will begin. The spacecraft will be integrated with the Pegasus in mid-February and encapsulation in the vehicle fairing will follow. After processing is completed, the rocket and spacecraft will be flown on Orbital's L-1011 carrier aircraft to the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site at the Pacific Ocean's Kwajalein Atoll for launch in March. The high-energy x-ray telescope will conduct a census for black holes, map radioactive material in young supernovae remnants, and study the origins of cosmic rays and the extreme physics around collapsed stars. For more information, visit http://www.nasa.gov/nustar. Photo credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin, VAFB