- Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope
Infobox Space telescope
name = Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope (GLAST)
caption = Artist's conception of the GLAST satellite
NASA, the United States Department of Energy, and government agencies in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Sweden.
height = 550 km (340 mi)
period = about 95 minutes
2008-06-11at 16:05 GMT
launch_location = pad B at
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 17
Delta II7920-H rocket
instrument_1_name = Large Area Telescope (LAT)
instrument_2_name = GLAST Burst Monitor (GBM)
website = http://glast.gsfc.nasa.gov/The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope (formerly named the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope, or GLAST) is a
space observatorybeing used to perform gamma-ray astronomyobservations from low Earth orbit. Its main instrument is the Large Area Telescope (LAT), with which astronomers mostly intend to perform an all-sky survey studying astrophysical and cosmological phenomena such as active galactic nuclei, pulsars, other high-energy sources and dark matter. Another instrument aboard GLAST, the GLAST Burst Monitor (GBM), is being used to study gamma ray bursts. [cite web |url=http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/GLAST/news/glast_gbm.html |title=NASA's GLAST Burst Monitor Team Hard at Work Fine-Tuning Instrument and Operations |publisher=NASA |date=2008-07-28]
GLAST was launched
2008-06-11at 16:05 GMTaboard a Delta II7920-H rocket. The mission is a joint venture of NASA, the United States Department of Energy, and government agencies in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Sweden. [cite web | url = http://glast.stanford.edu/ | title = An Astro-Particle Physics Partnership Exploring the High Energy Universe - List of funders | publisher = SLAC | accessmonthday = August 9 | accessyear = 2007] NASA announced 2008-02-08that it was seeking a new name that would, "capture the excitement of GLAST's mission and call attention to gamma-ray and high-energy astronomy." [cite web | url = http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/08feb_namethattelescope.htm | title = Name that Space Telescope! | date = 2008-02-08 | publisher = NASA]
General DynamicsAdvanced Information Systems (formerly Spectrum Astro) in Gilbert, Arizonadesigned and built the spacecraftthat carries the instruments. It will travel in a low, circular orbit with a period of about 95 minutes. Its normal mode of operation will maintain its orientation so that the instruments will look away from the earth, with a "rocking" motion to equalize the coverage of the sky. The view of the instruments will sweep out across most of the sky about 16 times per day. The spacecraft can also maintain an orientation that points to a chosen target.
Both science instruments underwent environmental testing, including vibration, vacuum, and high and low temperatures to ensure that they can withstand the stresses of launch and continue to operate in space. They were integrated with the spacecraft at the General Dynamics ASCENT facility in Gilbert, Arizona.
Data from the instruments will be available to the public through the GLAST Science Support Center web site. Software for analyzing the data will also be available. Scientists with plans for research will be able to apply to the Guest Investigator program.
Alan Stern, associate administrator for Science at NASA Headquarters, launched a public competition 2008-02-07, closing 2008-03-31, to rename GLAST in a way that would "capture the excitement of GLAST’s mission and call attention to gamma-ray and high-energy astronomy... something memorable to commemorate this spectacular new astronomy mission... a name that is catchy, easy to say and will help make the satellite and its mission a topic of dinner table and classroom discussion." [cite web |url=http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2008/feb/HQ_08036_GLAST.html |title=NASA Calls for Suggestions to Re-Name Future Telescope Mission |publisher=NASA |date=2008-02-07 |accessdate=2008-02-10]
2008-08-26, GLAST was renamed the "Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope" in honor of Enrico Fermi, a pioneer in high-energy physics.cite web |url=http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/26aug_firstlight.htm |title=First Light for the Fermi Space Telescope |publisher=NASA |date=2008-08-26]
The key scientific objectives of the GLAST mission are: [cite web | url = http://glast.stanford.edu/mission.html | title = The Mission | publisher = SLAC | accessmonthday = August 9 | accessyear = 2007]
*To understand the mechanisms of particle acceleration in active galactic nuclei (AGN), pulsars, and
gamma-raysky: unidentified sources and diffuse emission.
*Determine the high-energy behavior of
gamma-ray burstsand transients.
dark matter(eg. by looking for an excess of gamma rays from the center of the Milky Way) and early Universe.
*Search for evaporating primordial
micro black holes( MBH) from their presumed gamma burst signatures [Hawking Radiation component] .
NASA designed the mission with a five-year lifetime, with a goal of ten years of operations. [cite web | url = http://glast.gsfc.nasa.gov/public/ | title = The GLAST Mission - GLAST Overview, mission length | publisher = NASA | accessmonthday = August 9 | accessyear = 2007]
2008-03-04the spacecraft arrived at the Astrotechpayload processing facility in Titusville, Florida. [cite web |url=http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/news/releases/2008/release-20080304.html |title=GLAST Spacecraft Arrives in Florida to Prepare for Launch |publisher=NASA] On 2008-06-04, after several previous delays, launch status was retargeted for June 11 at the earliest, [cite web |url=http://www.spaceflightnow.com/tracking/index.html |title=Spaceflight Now - Tracking Station - Worldwide launch schedule |accessdate=2008-06-04 |format= |work= ] [cite web |url=http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/GLAST/main/index.html|title=GLAST Mission Coverage - Latest News|accessdate=2008-06-04 |format= |work= ] the last delays resulting from the need to replace the Flight Termination System batteries.cite web |url=http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/launchingrockets/status/2008/elvstatus-20080606.html |title=NASA - Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report |accessdate=2008-06-09 |publisher=NASA |date= 2008-06-06] The launch window extended from 11:45 a.m. until 1:40 p.m. EDT (15:45-17:40 GMT) daily, until 2008-08-07.
Launch occurred successfully on
GLAST resides in a low-earth circular orbit at an altitude of convert|550|km|mi|abbr=on, and at an inclination of 28.5 degrees. [cite web | url = http://glast.gsfc.nasa.gov/public/ | title = The GLAST Mission - GLAST Overview, orbital information | publisher = NASA | accessmonthday = August 9 | accessyear= 2007]
GLAST received some minor modifications to its computer software
LAT/GBM computers operational
Computers operating both the LAT and GBM (see below) and most of the LAT's components were turned on,
2008-06-24. The LAT high voltage was turned on, 2008-06-25, and it began detecting high-energy particles from space, but minor adjustments were still needed to calibrate the instrument. The GBM high voltage was also turned on, 2008-06-25, but the GBM was still requiring one more week of testing/calibrations before searching for gamma ray bursts.
ky Survey Mode
GLAST was expected to have switched to "sky survey mode" on
2008-06-26so as to begin sweeping its field of view over the entire sky every three hours (every two orbits).
GLAST Science Packages
After presenting an overview of the GLAST instrumentation and goals, Jennifer Carson of the
Stanford Linear Accelerator Centerconcludes that the primary goals "are all achievable with the all-sky scanning mode of observing."cite web |url=http://arxiv.org/pdf/astro-ph/0610960 | title=GLAST: physics goals and instrument status |last=Carson |first=Jennifer]
GBM is an
acronymfor GLAST Burst Monitor; the GBM detects sudden flares of gamma rays produced by gamma ray bursts and solar flares. Its scintillators are on the sides of the spacecraft to view all of the sky which is not blocked by the earth. The design is optimized for good resolution in time and photon energy.
"Gamma-ray bursts are so bright we can see them from billions of light years away, which means they occurred billions of years ago, and we see them as they looked then," says Charles Meegan of NASA's
Marshall Space Flight Center. [cite web |url=http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/11jun_glast2.htm |title=GLAST Off! |publisher=NASA]
GBM Participating Institutions
US Team Institution
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center
German Team Institution
LAT is an acronym for Large Area Telescope; the LAT detects individual
gamma raysusing technology similar to that used in terrestrial particle accelerators. Photonshit thin metal sheets, converting to electron- positronpairs, via a process known as pair production. These charged particles pass through interleaved layers of silicon microstrips, causing ionizationwhich produce detectable tiny pulses of electric charge. Researchers can combine information from several layers of this tracker to determine the path of the particles. After passing through the tracker, the particles enter the calorimeter, which consists of a stack of caesium iodide scintillatorcrystals to measure the total energy of the particles. The LAT's field of view is large, about 20% of the sky. The resolution of its images is modest by astronomical standards, a few arc minutes for the highest-energy photons and about 3 degrees at 100 MeV. The LAT may be a bigger and better successor to the EGRET instrumenton NASA's Compton Gamma Ray Observatorysatellite in the 1990s. Several countries produced the components of the LAT, who then sent the components for assembly at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center(SLAC).
LAT Participating Institutions
US Team Institutions
Stanford University, Physics Department, GLAST group & Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory
Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Particle Astrophysics group
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Astrophysics Science Division
U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, High Energy Space Environment (HESE) branch
Ohio State University, Physics Department
University of California, Santa Cruz, Physics Department
Sonoma State University, Department of Physics & Astronomy
University of Washington
Texas A&M University-Kingsville
Japanese Team Institutions
Japan GLAST Collaboration
University of Tokyo
Tokyo Institute of Technology
Institute for Cosmic-Ray Research
Institute for Space and Astronautical Science
Italian Team Institutions
*Instituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN)
Italian Space Agency
*Istituto di Fisica Cosmica, Milano, CNR
University of Bari
University of Padova
University of Perugia
University of Pisa
University of Rome Tor Vergata
University of Trieste
University of Udine
French Team Institutions
Service d'Astrophysique, CEA DAPNIA, CEA Saclay
Centre National d'Études Spatiales
Institut National de Physique Nucléaire et de Physique des Particules, IN2P3
*Laboratoire Leprince-Ringuet de l'École Polytechnique
Centre d'Études nucléaires de Bordeaux Gradignan
Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Astroparticules, Montpellier
wedish Team Institutions
Royal Institute of Technology
Education and public outreach
Education and public outreach are important components of the GLAST project. The main GLAST education and public outreach website at http://glast.sonoma.edu offers gateways to resources for students, educators, scientists, and the public. NASA’s Education and Public Outreach (E/PO) group operates the GLAST education and outreach resources at
Sonoma State University.
* [http://glast.gsfc.nasa.gov/ NASA website for GLAST]
* [http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/missions/profile.cfm?MCode=GLAST GLAST Mission Profile] by [http://solarsystem.nasa.gov NASA's Solar System Exploration]
* [http://www-glast.stanford.edu/ Stanford University GLAST website (LAT)]
* [http://glast.sonoma.edu/ Sonoma State University GLAST website]
NASA Education and Public Outreach Group at Sonoma State University
* [http://gammaray.msfc.nasa.gov/gbm/ GBM website at Marshall Space Flight Center]
* [http://www-glast.sonoma.edu/ GLAST public outreach and education website]
* [http://glast.gsfc.nasa.gov/ssc/ GLAST Science Support Center]
* [http://www.symmetrymagazine.org/cms/?pid=1000260 "GLAST into space" article in "symmetry" magazine]
* [http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=window-on-the-extreme-universe "Window on the Extreme Universe" article in "Scientific American", Dec. 2007 issue. Note: full article on website requires subscription.]
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