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G. R. Ricker (MIT), HETE-2 Science Team
The HETE-2 mission, scheduled for launch into equatorial orbit on 6 October 2000, is the first satellite mission devoted to the study of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). HETE-2 utilizes a matched suite of low energy X-ray, medium energy X-ray, and gamma-ray detectors mounted on a compact spacecraft. A unique feature of HETE-2 is its potential for localizing GRBs with ~10 arcmin accuracy (medium energy X-rays) to ~10 arcsec accuracy (low energy X-rays), in real time aboard the spacecraft. These GRB locations are transmitted, within ~ seconds to minutes, directly to a dedicated network of telemetry receivers at 12 automated "Burst Alert Stations" (BAS) sited along the satellite ground track. The BAS network then re-distributes the GRB locations world-wide via Internet in ~1 second. Thus, prompt optical, IR, and radio follow-up identifications are anticipated for a large fraction of HETE-2 GRBs.
Initial results of GRB observations from HETE-2 will be presented.
The HETE-2 scientific team includes participants from France, Japan, Italy, and the USA. This research was supported in the USA by NASA contract NASW-4690.
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