Black Hole Hunter
This ladder-looking spacecraft is NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR. After a minor delay, NuSTAR is now ready for its targeted June 13 launch from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Orbital Sciences Corporation, which built the array, will tuck it into one of their Pegasus XL rockets, which launches airborne from a Lockheed L-1101 TriStar called Stargazer. Once it reaches orbit, NuSTAR will observe X-rays from "the hottest, densest and most energetic objects in the universe, including black holes, their high-speed particle jets, ultra-dense neutron stars, supernova remnants and our sun," according to NASA. Since X-ray telescopes require a long focal length, NuSTAR has a deployable mast that stretches 33 feet; however, the spacecraft squeezes down to about six feet by three feet to fit aboard the low-cost Pegasus rocket.