Einstein Probe
Einstein Probe artist impression
NamesAiyinsitan Tanzhen
Mission typeSpace observatory
OperatorCAS, ESA
COSPAR ID2024-007A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.58753
Mission duration3 years (planned)
17 days (ongoing)
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftEinstein Probe
Launch mass1,450 kg (3,200 lb)[1]
Dimensions3 × 3.4 m (9.8 × 11.2 ft)
Start of mission
Launch date9 January 2024, 07:02 UTC[2]
RocketLong March 2C[2]
Launch siteXichang LC-3
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Perigee altitude581 km
Apogee altitude596 km
Period96 minutes
Wide-field X-ray Telescope (WXT)
Follow-up X-ray Telescope (FXT)

Einstein Probe Logo  

The Einstein Probe (EP) is an X-ray space telescope mission by Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in partnership with European Space Agency (ESA) and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) dedicated to time-domain high-energy astrophysics.[3][4] The primary goals are "to discover high-energy transients and monitor variable objects".[5]

Scientific objectives

The primary science objectives are:[6]

  1. Identify inactive black holes to study how matter is precipitated there by detecting the transient events that take the form of X-ray flares;
  2. Detect the electromagnetic counterpart of events triggering gravitational waves such as the merger of neutron stars which will be discovered by the next generation of gravitational wave detectors;
  3. Carry out permanent monitoring of the entire sky to detect the various transient phenomena and carry out measurements of known variable X-ray sources.


Einstein Probe carries 2 scientific instruments: the Wide-field X-ray Telescope (WXT), and the Follow-up X-ray Telescope (FXT).[7] Both telescopes utilize X-ray focusing optics.

The probe weights 1450 kg and is 3-by-3.4 metres.[4]


Einstein Probe was launched on 9 January 2024, at 07:03 UTC by a Long March 2C rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in China, and successfully placed in low Earth orbit at an altitude of 600 km.[2]

See also


  1. ^ "Einstein Probe factsheet". ESA. Retrieved 10 January 2024.
  2. ^ a b c "Einstein Probe lifts off on a mission to monitor the X-ray sky". www.esa.int.
  3. ^ "Einstein Probe in a nutshell". www.esa.int. Retrieved 28 December 2023.
  4. ^ a b c d "Einstein Probe factsheet". www.esa.int. Retrieved 28 December 2023.
  5. ^ "Einstein Probe Time Domain Astronomical Information Center". ep.bao.ac.cn. Retrieved 28 December 2023.
  6. ^ "Science Objectives Overview". Einstein Probe. Retrieved 14 January 2024.
  7. ^ a b c "EinsteinProbe". www.mpe.mpg.de. Retrieved 28 December 2023.
  8. ^ "Einstein Probe Time Domain Astronomical Information Center". ep.bao.ac.cn. Retrieved 28 December 2023.
  9. ^ Jones, Andrew (November 25, 2022). "China tests novel 'lobster eye' X-ray telescope for observing cosmic events". Space.com.

Further reading