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M.C. Weisskopf (NASA/MSFC)
The Chandra X-Ray Observatory was launched early in the morning of 1999, July 23 by the Space Shuttle Columbia. The Shuttle launch was only the first step in placing NASA's latest great observatory into orbit. After release from the cargo bay, the Inertial Upper Stage performed two firings and separated from the observatory as planned. Finally, after five firings of Chandra's own Integral Propulsion System - the last of which took place 15 days after the initial launch - the observatory was placed in its highly elliptical orbit of 140,000 km apogee and 10,000 km perigee. After Observatory activation, the first x-rays focussed by the telescope were observed on 1999, August 12. Beginning with this initial observation one could conclude that the telescope had survived the launch environment and was operating as expected. The month following the opening of the sunshade door was spent adjusting the focus for each set of instrument configurations, determining the optical axis, calibrating the star camera, establishing the relative response functions, determining the energy scale(s), and performing a series of "publicity" images. Each observation proved to be far more revealing than was expected. Preliminary results will be presented and the status of the instrumentation on the observatory will be discussed.