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Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope

GLAST is a space telescope designed to make gamma-ray astronomy observations form
low Earth orbit (555 km). It was originally scheduled for launch in May 16th 2008. Due
to equipment damage during the installation of the 2nd stage of the Delta 2 rocket the
launch didn’t actually occur until June 11th 2008. It is designed to be a five year mission.

The observatory weights 4,303 kg and carries two primary telescopes. The telescopes are
designed to scan the sky every three hours. The first telescope is the Large Area
Telescope. It will be used for an all-sky survey studying high energy sources such as
pulsars and galactic nuclei. It detects photons with energy from 30 MeV to 300 MeV. Its
view covers about 20% of the sky. The second telescope is the GLAST Burst Monitor.
It will be used to study gamma-ray bursts. It is composed of 2 different types of
detectors. There are 14 sodium iodide crystals for the 8 keV to 1Mev range and two
bismuth germinate crystals for the 150 keV to 30 MeV range. It can detect bursts across
the entire sky not blocked by the Earth.

The idea is for the GBM to detect gamma-ray bursts in time to focus the LAT onto the
event. The LAT will also map gamma-ray sources in greater detail than ever before. It is
hoped it will trace the origins of signals discovered by previous spacecraft back to their

The mission objectives listed on the GLAST page at are:

• Explore the most extreme environments in the Universe, where nature harnesses
energies far beyond anything possible on Earth.
• Search for signs of new laws of physics and what composes the mysterious Dark
• Explain how black holes accelerate immense jets of material to nearly light speed.
• Help crack the mysteries of the stupendously powerful explosions known as
gamma-ray bursts.
• Answer long-standing questions across a broad range of topics, including solar
flares, pulsars and the origin of cosmic rays.