INTEGRAL Mission Extension Approved
6 December 2005ESA's Science Programme Committee has extended operations of the highly successful astronomical observatory INTEGRAL until 16 December 2010.
As usual, there will be a review of the scientific performance and of the missions status in another two years' time, around autumn 2007.
The INTEGRAL gamma-ray observatory was launched on 17 October 2002, and has been providing ever since an increasingly detailed insight into some of the most energetic phenomena in the Universe. These include the births and deaths of stars, supermassive black holes, neutron stars, the annihilation of matter and anti-matter, and gamma-ray bursts.
INTEGRAL is also conducting of the first detailed gamma-ray mapping of the galactic plane, and studying extra-galactic gamma-ray sources with unprecedented sensitivity.
Having already amassed a large number of scientific results and publications, the latest extension will provide even more opportunities for the scientists hoping to investigate many of the scientific issues being addressed by INTEGRAL.
With its four instruments (a gamma-ray imager and spectrometer, an X-ray monitor and an optical camera), the Integral observatory displays a unique combination of outstanding sensitivity to faint details, spectral resolution and imaging capability.