TRW-built Chandra X-ray Observatory, NASA’s newest and most powerful
X-ray space telescope, has been selected as the winner of the Editor’s
Choice category of the 2000 Discover Magazine Awards for Technological

The NASA/TRW team that designed, built and deployed
Chandra for NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.,
will be formally recognized June 24 at a gala awards celebration at
Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla. Harvey
Tananbaum, director of the Smithsonian Observatory’s Chandra X-ray
Science Center, Cambridge, Mass., which conducts the Chandra science
mission for NASA, will receive the award on behalf of the team.

“The successful launch, deployment and on-orbit operations of
NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory is a testament to the solid
partnership between TRW, NASA and the science community that has been
enabling NASA’s most important space science missions for the past 40
years,” said Timothy W. Hannemann, executive vice president and
general manager, TRW Space & Electronics Group. “The extraordinary
images that Chandra is delivering daily speaks loudly not only to the
quality of the science instruments on board, but also to the
engineering talents and dedication to mission success exhibited by
every member of NASA’s Chandra mission team.”

“Chandra has opened a new window for astronomers into the universe
of high-energy cosmic events such as pulsars, supernova remnants and
black holes,” said Tananbaum. “We’re now able to create spectacularly
detailed images of celestial phenomena whose mere existence we could
only hypothesize before.”

Among Chandra’s most significant discoveries to date, he lists the
detection of a giant ring around the heart of the Crab Nebula, details
of the shock wave created by an exploding star and resolution of the
high energy X-ray “glow” in the universe into millions of specific
light sources.

Chandra, named in honor of Nobel laureate Subrahmanyan
Chandrasekhar, was launched in July 1999 aboard the Space Shuttle
Columbia and deployed to a highly elliptical Earth orbit. Over the
next five years, it will use the world’s most powerful X-ray
telescope, designed and built by Eastman Kodak, to probe the mysteries
of a universe that cannot be seen by the human eye or conventional
optical telescopes. Its array of exquisitely polished and aligned
mirrors, ground and polished by Raytheon Inc., will allow Chandra to
gather and focus X-rays from celestial sources billions of light years

Chandra’s science instrument module was designed and built by Ball
Aerospace & Technologies Corp., then integrated with instruments
provided by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Penn State
University, MIT, Space Research Organization of The Netherlands, and
the Max Planck Institute in Germany. Ball Aerospace also produced
Chandra’s aspect camera.

The Discover Awards for Technological Innovation, now in their
11th year, are designed to acknowledge the creativity of men, women,
corporations and institutions who have reached superior levels of
ingenuity. Each year, Discover Magazine’s editorial staff reviews
thousands of new products and ideas presented in the scientific
literature or nominated by leading technology-based companies and
research organizations. The editorial staff selects semi-finalists in
each of eight technology categories, then submits the nominations to
an independent panel of experts. The panel then selects the finalists
and the winner in each area of technology.

The Editor’s Choice category is reserved for innovations so unique
or promising that they go beyond the magazine’s established innovation
categories by providing a marked advance in their field. Chandra’s
powerful X-ray telescope can resolve distant images eight times
sharper and detect X-ray sources 20 times fainter than any previous
X-ray space telescope.

Chandra, along with the rest of the winners, will be listed in the
July issue of Discover Magazine, scheduled for delivery to newsstands
on June 19. The 2000 award winners will also be featured at the
magazine’s Web site:

TRW has been designing and producing spacecraft for NASA’s most
challenging space science missions since 1958. Following the
successful launch and deployment of Chandra, the company is currently
developing designs and technologies for several of NASA’s future space
astronomy missions, including the Space Interferometry Mission, the
Next Generation Space Telescope and Terrestrial Planet Finder, all of
which are part of NASA’s Origins program, plus Constellation-X, the
successor mission to Chandra, and the Gamma Ray Large Area Space
Telescope, the successor mission to the highly successful TRW-built
Compton Gamma Ray Observatory.