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A Chinese delegation of eXTP satellite visits ICE-CSIC to discuss the mission’s advances

February 28, 2023
Group picture of the Chinese delegation of eXTP, together with ICE-CSIC researchers and engineers.

Group picture of the Chinese delegation of eXTP, together with ICE-CSIC researchers and engineers.

On Monday 27th February, the Institute of Space Sciences (ICE-CSIC) welcomed a Chinese delegation of the space mission eXTP (enhanced X-ray Timing and Polarimetry mission) composed by senior officers from NSSC-CAS, IHEP-CAS to meet with ICE-CSIC researchers and engineers working on the mission and discuss latest advancements. Members of the HERD project at IHEP-CAS were present as well.  

The eXTP X-ray satellite (enhanced X-ray Timing and Polarimetry Mission) is led by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and universities in China, with partnerships with several international institutions, including the participation of ICE-CSIC. The mission - envisioned to be launched in 2029 - aims to study the state of matter under extreme conditions of density, gravity and magnetism.

There is a major Spanish participation in the mission led by ICE-CSIC, most notably, Margarita Hernanz is the principal investigator of one of the instruments that will be onboard, the Wide Field Monitor (WFM). The ICE-CSIC contribution is also responsible for the mechanical and thermal design of the WFM instrument, and the development of the entire mechanical assembly of its cameras. The technical challenges about the design of the WFM instrument are the responsibility of ICE-CSIC engineers, in particular José Luis Gálvez, Ander Hormaetxe and Patrícia Ferrés. In addition, several ICE-CSIC researchers are involved in the scientific design of the eXTP X-ray satellite: in particular, Nanda Rea, Laura Tolós, Diego Torres, Francesco Coti Zelati and Alessandro Patruno have been working for several years in the scientific shaping of the instrument. In addition, Glòria Sala from UPC-IEEC, is the project scientist of eXTP's WFM instrument.

ICE-CSIC director Diego F. Torres, researcher Margarita Hernanz and Shuang-Nan ZHANG, PI of eXTP, HERD and POLAR-2 (China).

Following the participation last week in a scientific and technical meeting about eXTP mission with the whole Consortium in Rome, Italy, the Chinese delegation visited the ICE-CSIC facilities to discuss the latest advances of the mission and interact with ICE-CSIC researchers. The programme of the visit was opened by ICE-CSIC Director Diego F. Torres who gave an overview of the institute’s activities. This was followed-up by an overview of the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC) by IEEC Director Ignasi Ribas. Prof. Shuang-Nan Zhang then gave an overview of the eXTP Mission. The second session comprised several talks about science with eXTP by ICE-CSIC researchers Nanda Rea, Laura Tolós and UPC-IEEC researcher Glòria Sala. The session ended with an update by Margarita Hernanz on the WFM instrument as well as the engineering work related to the instrument developed at the institute by the ICE-CSIC engineers José Luis Galvez, Ander Hormaetxe and Patrícia Ferrés. The visitors also enjoyed a tour of the institute’s laboratories before the closure of the visit with a presentation by Prof Quanlin Fan about Future Planning of the China Space Science Programme.


Members of the Chinese delegation visiting ICE-CSIC laboratories and facilities.

"This visit, together with the one in Rome last week, is expected to push forward the mission. Hopefully, the visit to the Spanish officials from AEI and CDTI in Madrid (both depending on MICIN and in charge of the funding of space missions in Spain) by the Chinese delegation and Margarita Hernanz, on Wednesday 1st March, will enhance and promote the eXTP collaboration between Spain and China," concludes Margarita Hernanz.

The Chinese delegation visiting ICE-CSIC was comprised by:    

  • Prof. Quanlin FAN, the Deputy Director of the Center for Space Science Strategic Study and Project Review, NSSC.
  • Prof. Fangjun LU, Director of Space Missions of IHEP.
  • Prof. Shuang-Nan ZHANG, PI of eXTP, HERD and POLAR-2 (China).
  • Prof. Yupeng XU, Chief designer of eXTP payloads.
  • Prof. Fan ZHANG, Head of Space Missions Office of IHEP.
  • Dr. Hongwei LIU, International Coordinator of Space Missions of IHEP.
  • Prof. Kejun ZHU, Vice Director of Space Missions of IHEP, manager of HERD project.
  • Prof. Yongwei DONG, Vice Chief Engineer of Space Missions of IHEP, Chief Engineer of HERD Project.
  • Prof. Wenxi PENG, Vice Chief Engineer of HERD Project.


Margarita Hernanz