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The Systems of the AXAF Observatory

This is the first in a series of articles that will give some details of the properties of AXAF-I and the way that it will operate. The present article aims to provide an overview of the entire Observatory, and sets the scene for more detailed descriptions that will follow in later Newsletters as the designs of specific components of AXAF-I are completed.

The overall structure of AXAF-I in its final deployed configuration is shown in Figure 1 (see The X-ray Telescope). When launched, the solar arrays are folded, the sunshade door is closed, and an orbital transfer stage is attached to the spacecraft module to raise the orbit from an altitude of about 300 km to the final orbit in which observations will be made (see The AXAF Orbits).

The AXAF-I Observatory is made up of three major components, which can be seen more clearly in the exploded view in Figure 2 (see The X-ray Telescope). These components are


2.X-ray telescope, and instrument module.

Figure 2 also shows one possible configuration for the orbital transfer stage, which attaches to the spacecraft.