A development flight for NASA's proposed MicroArcsecond X-Ray Imaging Mission (MAXIM), expected to be launched after 2015. The MAXIM Pathfinder mission will consist of an optics spacecraft initially flying 200 km away from a detector spacecraft. In this configuration MAXIM Pathfinder will have a resolution of 100 microarcseconds, 5 000 times better than that of the Chandra X-ray Observatory. After a year or so of observations, the optics spacecraft will split into six sections arranged in a ring around a central hub, with the detector spacecraft moved to a distance of 20 000 km. This will increase resolution by up to a hundredfold, but the eventual full-scale MAXIM will have a resolution 10 times better still.
Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.