Space Station Robot Installs Neutron Star Explorer: Watch the Time-Lapse Video

NASA's Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) was installed on the International Space Station in June 2017. This time-lapse video was created using cameras on the orbital lab and shows the orbital outpost's Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM), aka Dextre, transporting NICER.

NICER launched to the space station on June 3 aboard a SpaceX Dragon cargo ship. The experiment is designed to study neutron stars , the densest observable objects in the universe, NASA officials have said. NICER officially began science operations in July. 

"No instrument like this has ever been built for the space station," NICER principal investigator Keith Gendreau of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland said in a statement. "As we transition from an instrument development project to a science investigation, it is important to recognize the fantastic engineering and instrument team who built a payload that delivers on all the promises made."

Note: senior producer Steve Spaleta contributed to this report.

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.