Signature of the Launcher Adaptation Contract for Integral
14 October 1999The contract for the Proton Launcher Adaptation for Integral was signed today at the ESA Permanent Mission in Moscow. This followed the successful completion of a lengthy approval process for the Arrangement between ESA and Russia on Cooperation on the Integral Project.
ESA's Integral gamma-ray space observatory will be launched on Russia's Proton rocket in October 2001 from the Baikonour cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.
Energia Space Corporation and the Khrunichev Space Centre had already been contracted by the Russian Aviation and Space Agency (Rosaviakosmos) for the procurement of the launcher. However, to be able to accommodate Integral, the launcher requires certain adaptations. These concern the technical interface with the DM Upper Stage of Proton, designed and manufactured by RSC Energia, and the launcher system configuration for which the Khrunichev Space Centre is responsible.
It is these modifications that were the subject of today's contract signature between ESA, Rosaviakosmos, RSC Energia and the Khrunichev Space Centre. ESA was represented by Mr Kai Clausen, Integral Project Manager, for ESA; for Rosaviakosmos Mr. Alexander Medvedchikov, Deputy General Director; Mr.Alexander Strekalov, Vice-President, for RSC Energia; Mr. Vyacheslav Ivanov, Deputy General Designer of Salyut Design Bureau, for Khrunichev.
Also present at this meeting were representatives of the Russian Academy of Science, - Sergei Grebenev and Natan Eismont, both directly involved in setting up the Russian Scientific Data Centre in the Space Research Institute (IKI), where Russian scientists will be able to receive and process Integral data. Mr. Leonardo Pavoni, was the chief representative of Finmeccanica/Alenia companies in Moscow. Alenia Spazio is the prime contractor for the Integral mission.
Under the terms of the agreement, Rosaviakosmos provides a Proton launch for Integral, in return for 24% of the guaranteed observation time and 27% of the open observation time.
As for all ESA scientific missions, each Integral scientific instrument is provided by a collaborative team of scientists headed by a Principal Investigator, with funding from national organisations. The Integral Science Data Centre (ISDC) based in Switzerland will process raw data for distribution to observers. The ISDC is complemented by the Russian Space Data Centre which receives pre-processed data to assist and support Russian observers.
Note for editors
The 3.6 t and 6 m long Integral spacecraft, will be launched into a highly eccentric geosynchronous orbit with a period of 72 h and an initial apogee height of 153 000 km. Such an orbit maximises the time for observations above 60 000 km altitude thus minimising the influence of the earth's radiation belts. The spacecraft is designed for a nominal operational life of two years, with consumables enabling an extension of up to five years.
Gamma ray telescopes - like Integral - detect radioactive materials in the Universe, but they also pick out events and scenes of tremendous releases of energy. ESA's Integral will perform detailed imaging and spectrometry of gamma-ray sources and will be a major step forward in the field of gamma-ray astrophysics in the 21st century.