The upcoming SpaceX launch with the apparently first re-use of a dragon capsule will bring with it the NICER array.
NICER is a directional X-ray spectrometer with very precise timing capability. It can be used to identify X-ray pulses from neutron stars and use the timing information to do basic studies on the possibility of deep space X-ray pulsar navigation for absolute position and time determination. There will also be the possibility of testing X-ray communication as well. It's pretty cool!
There is a mission patch on the side. I had always thought mission patches were for missions identified with a particular launch, but the NICER-SEXTANT mission is really a research program if I understand correctly. If so, how common is it for research projects to have mission patches?
The patch looks intriguing. Is there a write-up somewhere or some information about the design of the patch? I see some pulses, what looks like a pulsar, and a lot of writing around the edges.
above: cropped from larger image below:
above: Illustration of the NICER array as it would be deployed on the ISS. Credit: NASA. From here.
above: NICER, from Astrophysics on the International Space Station - Understanding ultra-dense matter through soft X-ray timing.
above: Illustration of X-rays approaching the NICER array as it would be deployed on the ISS. Credit: NASA. Screen shot of NASA video.