SPACE

Jun 13, 2012 12:09 PM by AP

NASA launches X-ray telescope over Pacific

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A rocket carrying NASA's newest X-ray telescope has ignited its engine in midair over the Pacific and begun its climb to space.

It'll be several minutes before there's confirmation that the X-ray telescope separated from the rocket and is in the right orbit.

The telescope is aboard a Pegasus rocket dropped from a special aircraft that took off early Wednesday from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific.

NASA chose to air-launch the $170 million mission because it's cheaper than rocketing off from a launch pad.

The two-year mission will hunt for black holes and other elusive celestial objects in our Milky Way and other galaxies.

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