NASA's GLAST Launch Successful
NASA's Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope, or GLAST, successfully launched aboard a Delta II rocket from Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 12:05 p.m. EDT on June 11.
The GLAST observatory separated from the second stage of the Delta II at 1:20 p.m. and the flight computer immediately
began powering up the components necessary to control the satellite. Twelve minutes after separating from the launch
vehicle, both GLAST solar arrays were deployed. The arrays immediately began producing the power necessary to maintain
the satellite and instruments. The operations team continues to check out the spacecraft subsystems.
"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.
Click on image for larger version.
The GLAST spacecraft and Delta II rocket leap off the launch pad.
(Credit: Carleton Bailie for United Launch Alliance)
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."
NASA's GLAST mission is an astrophysics and particle physics partnership, developed in collaboration with the U.S.
Department of Energy, along with important contributions from academic institutions and partners in France, Germany,
Italy, Japan, Sweden and the U.S.