Start of X-Calibur 2018 Long Duration Balloon Flight Campaign

It is now July 2018 and we are preparing for the second X-Calibur balloon flight: a Long Duration Balloon (LDB) flight from McMurdo (Antarctic). The science payload and the main results of the first one-day flight (Sept. 17, 2016) are described in the paper “Design of the Telescope Truss and Gondola for the Balloon-Borne X-ray Polarimeter X-Calibur”, by Kislat et al. (2017). The LDB flight will be much longer, i.e. between 8 and 55 days, and will allow the observations of a sample of hard X-ray sources. The observational targets of the balloon flight will include Vela X-1, an accreting neutron star and copious emitter of X-rays. We are scheduled to arrive in McMurdo on Oct. 29, 2018, and we hope to launch the balloon in the fist week of December. We are currently at the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Palestine, Texas, for final tests of the payload (see the video below).

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