Inside an environmental enclosure at Vandenberg Air Force Base's processing facility in California, technicians check the interface of NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, with its Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL rocket. The spacecraft is secured inside the turnover rotation fixture used to rotate it into a horizontal position. The uniting of the spacecraft with the rocket is a major milestone in prelaunch preparations.
After processing of the rocket and spacecraft are complete, they will be flown on Orbital's L-1011 carrier aircraft from Vandenberg to the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site on the Pacific Ocean’s Kwajalein Atoll for launch. The high-energy x-ray telescope will conduct a census of 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