LAT integrated into the spacecraft!

Contributed by
Dec 15, 2006

Take a break from voting (no, haha, don't take a break, PZ is 12 votes ahead!) to read about some cool news I got today:

For my day job, I create educational activities based on some NASA space missions. One of them is GLAST, an observatory that will detect extremely energetic gamma rays from astronomical sources like exploding stars and black holes gobbling down matter. GLAST is under construction, and will launch in October 2007.

Today, it was announced that GLAST's main instrument, the Large Area Telescope, was attached (what the engineers call "integrated" if you want to impress people at the rave) to the spacecraft. Here it is, mounted on top with its protective foil and plastic wrapper:

(More pictures are here.)

Cool! For a sense of scale, there is a guy in one of those protective bunny suits on the right in the background, behind some equipment. The spacecraft+LAT is about 3 meters tall.

This is one more step accomplished, and it's a big one. They still have to finish up the GLAST Burst Monitors and lots of other assorted things, but we're on schedule to tracking down exotic cosmic beasties next year!

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