New tech is added to ISS by NASA and the Naval Research Laboratory named XCOM which is an X-ray communication device to prove the data transmitted through the X-ray in the space. The tech was sent to the ISS in the SpaceX Dragon cargo. Now that the tech has reached the ISS, a robotic arm will load up the tech from the trunk of Dragon and attach it to the station’s top. XCOM which is also known as STP-H6 was carried with NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3 which will be used to measure carbon dioxide concentrations in Earth’s atmosphere.
After the installation of STP-H6, the astronauts who are at the ISS will activate the device for further experiment and it also has an infrared airglow camera which will allow us to observe the boundaries from space to Earth’s atmosphere, including images and videos of the activities taking place in orbit. The XCOM will send X-ray signals towards the receiver which is called the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER). NICER is present on the other end of ISS since 2017 which measures the X-ray light which comes from neutron stars.
Keith Gendreau, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and principal investigator for the NICER and XCOM experiments conveyed, “When we built NICER, we made using an X-ray source that we had developed at Goddard to test it, an X-ray source that we could modulate with arbitrary waveforms, We could make simulated pulsars and make sure that NICER would actually work properly to do the X-ray timing that it was supposed to do for the science and technology applications.”
She added, “So this X-ray source we made, we called it a modulated X-ray source, or MXS, As soon as you see that you can do any type of X-ray light curve you want, it was very clear that we could use it to transmit data. So that’s another application that we can do.”