XMM-Newton: Europe’s biggest space observatory

XMM-Newton: Europe’s biggest space observatory

XMM-Newton, also known as the High Throughput X-ray Spectroscopy Mission and the X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission, is an X-ray space observatory launched by the European Space Agency in December 1999 on an Ariane 5 rocket.

It is the second cornerstone mission of ESA’s Horizon 2000 programme. Named after physicist and astronomer Sir Isaac Newton, the spacecraft is tasked with investigating interstellar X-ray sources, performing narrow- and broad-range spectroscopy, and performing the first simultaneous imaging of objects in both X-ray and optical (visible and ultraviolet) wavelengths.

Initially funded for two years, with a ten-year design life, the spacecraft remains in good health and has received repeated mission extensions, most recently in October 2020 and is scheduled to operate until the end of 2022.

Cité de l’espace (Toulouse)

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