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8 December 2003 Proposed mission concept for the Astrophysical Plasmadynamic Explorer (APEX): an EUV high-resolution spectroscopic SMEX
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APEX is a proposed mission for a Small Explorer (SMEX) satellite. APEX will investigate the density, temperature, composition, magnetic field, structure, and dynamics of hot astrophysical plasmas (log T = ~5-7), which emit the bulk of their radiation at EUV wavelengths and produce critical spectral diagnostics not found at other wavelengths. APEX addresses basic questions of stellar evolution and galactic structure through high-resolution spectroscopy of white dwarf stars, cataclysmic variables, the local interstellar medium, and stellar coronae. Thus APEX complements the Chandra, Newton-XMM, FUSE, and CHIPS missions. The instrument is a suite of 8 near-normal incidence spectrometers (~90-275 Angstroms, resolving power ~10,000, effective area 30-50 cm2) each of which employs a multilayer-coated ion-etched blazed diffraction grating and a microchannel plate detector of high quantum efficiency and high spatial resolution. The instrument is mounted on a 3-axis stabilized commercial spacecraft bus with a precision pointing system. The spacecraft is launched by a Taurus vehicle, and payload size and weight fit comfortably within limits for the 2210 fairing. Of order 100 targets will be observed over the baseline mission of 2 years. These are selected carefully to maximize scientific return, and all were detected in the EUVE and the ROSAT WFC surveys.
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