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The chandra x-ray observatory (cxo), previously known as the advanced x-ray astrophysics facility (axaf), is a space telescope launched on sts-93 by nasa on july 23, 1999. chandra is sensitive to x-ray sources 100 times fainter than any previous x-ray telescope, enabled by the high angular resolution of its mirrors. since the earth's atmosphere absorbs the vast majority of x-rays, they are not detectable from earth-based telescopes; therefore space-based telescopes are required to make these observations. chandra is an earth satellite in a 64-hour orbit, and its mission is ongoing as of 2014. chandra is one of the great observatories, along with the hubble space telescope, compton gamma ray observatory (1991–2000), and the spitzer space telescope. chandra has been described as being as revolutionary to astronomy as galileo's first telescope. the telescope is named after subrahmanyan chandrasekhar.