NASA Launches new GLAST Gamma-Ray Telescope
UPDATE: The solar arrays deployed successfully. Engineers are now running a series of tests to check out the telescope's systems.
Original story follows.
And we have--another successful liftoff! This time, an expendable rocket leaped from one of the historic launch pads at Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. CCAFS is what we old NASA hands called "across the river," as it literally is across the Banana River from NASA's space shuttle launch pads.
GLAST is another addition to the fleet of space observatories. The powerful instrument will orbit 350 miles above Earth to study gamma rays, which are the highest-energy form of light.
Gamma rays paint a different sky and universe than the one we can see with our naked human eyes. GLAST will study the enigmatic black-hole systems, pulsars, theorigin of cosmic rays, and searches for signals of new physics.
The mission is an astrophysics and particle physics partnership,developed by NASA in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy. Also participating: from academic institutions andpartners in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Sweden, and the U.S.
At 12:05 pm EST, NASA successfully launched GLAST, the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope from Kennedy Space Center in Florida after a tense series of micro-delays.
GLAST will perform full sky surveys every three hours taking in gamma-rays from around the universe. Its mission is to learn more about how black holes can accelerate jets of material to near light speed, about how gamma-ray burst are created and possibly even something about that mysterious dark matter.