Generation-X: Mission and technology studies for an x-ray observatory vision mission

Robert A. Cameron*, Marshall W. Bautz, Roger J. Brissenden, Martin S. Elvis, Giuseppina Fabbiano, Enectali Figueroa-Feliciano, Paul Gorenstein, Robert Petre, Paul B. Reid, Daniel S. Schwarte, Nicholas E. White, William W. Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The new frontier in astrophysics is the study of the very first stars, galaxies and black holes in the early Universe. These objects are beyond the grasp of the current generation of X-ray telescopes such as Chandra, and so the Generation-X Vision Mission has been proposed as an X-ray observatory which will be capable of detecting these earliest objects. X-ray imaging and spectroscopy of such distant objects will require an X-ray telescope with large collecting area and high angular resolution. The Generation-X concept has 100 m 2 collecting area at 1 keV (1000 times larger than Chandra) and 0.1 arcsecond angular resolution (several times better than Chandra and SO times better than the resolution goal for Constellation-X). The baseline mission involves four 8 m diameter telescopes operating at Sun-Earth 12. Such large telescopes will require either robotic or human-assisted in-flight assembly. To achieve the required effective area with launchable mass, very lightweight grazing incidence X-ray optics must be developed, having an areal density 100 times lower than in Chandra, with perhaps 0.1 mm thick mirrors requiring on-orbit figure control. The suite of available detectors for Generation-X should include a large-area high resolution imager, a cryogenic imaging spectrometer and a grating spectrometer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)572-580
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Issue numberPART 2
StatePublished - 2004
EventUV and Gamma-Ray Space Telescope Systems - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: Jun 21 2004Jun 24 2004


  • Active optics
  • Generation-X
  • Lightweight optics
  • Vision Mission
  • X-ray telescope

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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