ESA's INTEGRAL spacecraft is detecting some of the most energetic radiation that comes from space. It is the most sensitive gamma-ray observatory ever launched. INTEGRAL is an ESA mission in cooperation with Russia and the United States.
INTEGRAL is providing new insight into the most violent and exotic objects of the Universe, such as black holes, neutron stars, active galactic nuclei and supernovae. INTEGRAL is also helping us to understand processes such as the formation of new chemical elements and mysterious gamma-ray bursts, the most energetic phenomena in the Universe. This is possible thanks to INTEGRAL's combination of fine spectroscopy and imaging of gamma-ray emissions in the energy range of 15 keV to 10 MeV. INTEGRAL also has an optical camera and X-ray detector, energy range 3 to 35 keV, for simultaneous observations across the EM spectrum.
INTEGRAL is an abbreviation for INTErnational Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory.
|Prime contractor||Alenia Spazio, Turin, Italy|
|Launch date||17 October 2002|
|Launcher||Russian Proton rocket|
|Launch mass||4 tonnes|
|Solar panels||16 metres across|
|Instrument||Topic||Principal investigator institutes|
|SPI||Spectrometer with cooled Ge detectors, coded mask and active shield||J.-P. Roques, CESR Toulouse, France and R. Diehl, MPE Garching, Germany|
|IBIS||Imager with two detector layers (CdTe array, 16 000 pixels and Csl array, 4000 pixels) and coded mask||P. Ubertini, IAS Rome Italy; F. Lebrun, CE-Saclay, France; G. DiCocco, ITESRE Bologna, Italy|
|JEM-X||X-ray monitor with microstrip proportional counter and coded mask||S. Brandt, DSRI, Copenhagen, Denmark|
|OMC||Optical monitor with CCD and lens optics||M. Mas-Hesse, LAEFF-INTA, Madrid, Spain|
Highly eccentric 72-hour orbit around the Earth:
- Perigee: 9000 km
- Apogee: 153 000 km
- Inclination: 51.6°
The spacecraft spends most of its time above an altitude of 40 000 kilometres outside Earth's radiation belts thereby reducing background radiation effects.
|Mission Operations Centre (MOC)||ESOC, Darmstadt, Germany|
|INTEGRAL Science Operations Centre (ISOC)||ESAC, Madrid, Spain|
|INTEGRAL Science Data Centre (ISDC)||Geneva, Switzerland|