GLAST (Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope) has launched, now wait two months

Thursday, June 12, 2008

GLAST logo

Remember the post on GLAST near the end of May, the telescope that was about to launch?

Well, it's up!

Now we wait two months for it to calibrate, and then it can start making observations. See:

"The entire GLAST Team is elated the observatory is now on-orbit and all systems continue to operate as planned," said GLAST program manager Kevin Grady of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

After a 75-minute flight, the GLAST spacecraft was deployed into low Earth orbit. It will begin to transmit initial instrument data after about three weeks. The telescope will explore the most extreme environments in the universe, searching for signs of new laws of physics and investigating what composes mysterious dark matter. It will seek explanations for how black holes accelerate immense jets of material to nearly light speed, and look for clues to crack the mysteries behind powerful explosions known as gamma-ray bursts.

"After a 60-day checkout and initial calibration period, we'll begin science operations," said Steve Ritz, GLAST project scientist at Goddard. "GLAST soon will be telling scientists about many new objects to study, and this information will be available on the internet for the world to see."

Notice the last sentence, that the information will be available on the internet for the world to see. This is a sharp contrast with missions like Venus Express, a mission that I love but one that has a serious, serious lack of updates to the public.

GLAST home page


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