Northrop will unveil a new concept design for Nasa’s international X-ray observatory (IXO) at an American Astronomical Society’s high-energy astrophysics division conference.

IXO is Nasa’s next-generation X-ray telescope, successor to the Chandra-X observatory, which will have a collecting area 50 times that of its predecessor.

The telescope features an optic bench concept that is capable of increasing its focal strength and the instrument and the system layout increases the telescope’s field of view.

Northrop will display a one-tenth scale model of the deployment structure at the conference.

IXO could be launched as early as 2021, according to Northrop.