artist concept of BeppoSAX
BeppoSAX was a major program of the Italian Space Agency with participation of the Netherlands Agency for Aereospace Programs. It was launched on April 30 1996 from Cape Canaveral and operated for 6 years. It was the first X-ray mission with a scientific payload covering more than three decades of energy - from 0.1 to 300 keV - with a relatively large effective area, medium energy resolution and imaging capabilities in the range of 0.1-10 keV.

Mission Characteristics

* Lifetime : 30 April 1996 - 30 April 2002
* Energy Range : 0.1 - 300 keV
* Special Features : Broad-band energy
* Payload :
  • The Narrow field Instruments (NFI):
    • Four Xray telescopes working in conjnction with one of the following detectors:
      • Low Energy Concentrator Spectrometer (LECS)
        (one unit) 0.1-10 keV, eff area 22 cm2 @ 0.28 keV, FOV 37´ diameter, angular resolution 9.7´ FWHM @ 0.28 keV.
      • Medium Energy Concentrator Spectrometer (MECS)
        (three units) 1.3-10 keV, eff area total 150 cm2 @ 6 keV, FOV 56´ diameter, angular resolution for 50% total signal radius 75" @ 6 keV.
    • High pressure Gas Scintillator Proportional Counter (HPGSPC)
      4-120 keV, eff area 240 cm2 @ 30 keV
    • Phoswich Detection System (PDS)
      15-300 keV. The lateral shields of the PDS are used as gamma-ray burst monitor in the range of 60-600 keV. Eff area 600 cm2 @ 80 keV
  • Wide Field Camera
    (2 units) 2-30 keV with a field of view 20 deg X 20 deg. The WFC are perpendicular to the axis of the NFI and point in opposite directions to each other. Eff area 140 cm2.
* Science Highlight:
  • First arc-minutes position of GRBs. Position determination on rapid time scale
  • First X-ray follow-up observations and monitoring of the GRB
  • Broad band spectroscopy of different classes of X-ray sources
* Archive : Spectra, Lightcurves, Images and Raw data for the MECS, LECS and PDS.

[BeppoSAX US Coordination Facility]

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