Sunday, August 12, 2012

Happy 35th, HEAO 1!

The above image shows the High Energy Astronomy Observatory 1 (HEAO 1), prior to launch. Image Credit: NASA

August 12th marks the 35th anniversary of the launch of the High Energy Astronomy Observatory 1 (HEAO 1) aboard an Atlas rocket with a Centaur upper stage. Known prior to launch as HEAO A, the HEAO 1 satellite was the first of three in the HEAO series. During its roughly 17 months of operation, HEAO 1 scanned the sky in the X-ray band almost three times. The satellite provided nearly constant monitoring of X-ray sources near the ecliptic poles, as well as more detailed studies of a number of objects through pointed observations.

HEAO included four large X-ray and gamma-ray astronomy instruments, known as A1 (the Large-Area Sky Survey instrument), A2 (the Cosmic X-ray Experiment), A3 (the Modulation Collimator instrument), and A4 (the Hard X-ray / Low-Energy Gamma-ray experiment). The orbital inclination was about 22.7 degrees. HEAO 1 operated until January 9, 1979 and then re-entered the Earth's atmosphere on March 15, 1979.

To learn more about HEAO 1, visit the mission page, hosted by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center , and the information page maintained by NASA's National Space Science Database, .

To learn about NASA's latest X-ray mission (launched June 13th), the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), visit and .


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