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UVEX (UltraViolet EXplorer) is a mission in NASA's Explorer program to survey the whole sky in two ultraviolet bands to study the evolution of stars and galaxies. UVEX would also be able to detect ultraviolet emissions linked to gravitational wave events.

UVEX will undertake a synoptic survey of the entire sky in the near-UV and far-UV, probing the dynamic universe with a sensitivity more than 50 times better than GALEX. UVEX will also have a powerful broadband spectroscopic capability. UVEX will address fundamental questions from the Astro2020 Decadal Survey, and study the evolution of low-metallicity, low-mass galaxies. UVEX time-domain surveys will probe the aftermaths of gravitational wave-discovered compact object mergers, discover fast UV transients, and diagnose the early stages of explosive phenomena.

With the end of the GALEX mission in 2013, and the ageing of the Hubble Space Telescope and the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, it is time for a new, broad-capability ultraviolet mission. UVEX will provide a generational improvement over the GALEX sky survey and is equipped to respond to the rapidly-changing dynamic ultraviolet universe.

UVEX will complement the synoptic and deep wide-area sky surveys with the ground-based Vera C Rubin Observatory, the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, and ESA’s Euclid space telescope. UVEX provides the crucial complementary UV data required to create a modern, multi-wavelength map of our Universe.

With simultaneous FUV and NUV imaging over a 12 deg² field of view and a PSF of ~2 arcseconds, UVEX will perform a modern synoptic all-sky survey, reaching depths of >25 AB mag over two years. A 2-degree-long spectroscopic slit with multiple widths will obtain sensitive, R>1000 spectra across a broad UV bandpass that includes many important diagnostic lines, efficiently probing dense stellar regions and resolved galaxies, and obtaining a wealth of serendipitous spectra. UVEX will be able to rapidly respond to targets of opportunity, providing photometric or spectroscopic follow-up within ~3 hours of a trigger, probing the bright, fast UV emission of neutron star mergers and cosmic explosions.

UVEX will be placed into an elliptical orbit that extends out to 59 Earth radi with a 13.7 day period.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Astronomy, UV
Propulsion: ?
Power: Solar array, batteries
Lifetime: 2 years
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
UVEX (MIDEX 12) - 2030

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