NASA’s X-Ray Timing Explorer was considered essential enough to be launched Saturday in spite of the federal government shutdown.
The $195 million satellite, the size of a small bus, is designed to study collapsed stars, possible black holes and other hot, compact objects in the universe for at least two years.
A Delta rocket carrying the satellite, the first new X-ray astronomy observatory since 1978, was launched at 8:48 a.m. after six previous attempts.
The launch initially was scheduled for the end of August, but that was delayed by a rocket malfunction.
Other launch efforts were dogged by high wind and technical problems.