In an environmental enclosure in processing facility 1555 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, twin segments of a Pegasus payload fairing for NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) mission are cleaned and inspected before the spacecraft is encapsulated.
The fairing will protect the spacecraft from the heat and aerodynamic pressure generated during ascent to orbit aboard an Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL rocket in March. Once processing of the rocket and spacecraft are completed at Vandenberg, they will be flown aboard an L-1011 carrier aircraft to the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site on the Pacific Ocean’s Kwajalein Atoll for launch. NuSTAR, a 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