Integral ready for launch

October 17, 2002

Paris, 16 Oct 2002

16 October 2002

ESA's Integral has been given the green light and is all set for launch from Baikonur in Kazakhstan in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

More than 34 simulations for a total of 300 hours have been carried out at ESOC, ESA's European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany. ESOC is responsible for Integral Mission Control and it is from here that the final OK will be given, just 10 minutes before the launch, scheduled for 06:41 CEST on Thursday 17 October.

Says Wolfgang Wimmer, Integral Flight Operations Director "the constant testing and retesting of the Integral satellite that has gone on in the past months ensures that everything is working to plan. Maybe even more importantly, it helps to form a strong united team able to deal with any eventuality".

Integral, which stands for INTErnational Gamma Ray Astrophysics Laboratory, will provide information on the most violent and energetic phenomena in the Universe, such as black holes, supernovae explosions and gamma ray bursts. It will be the most sensitive gamma-ray observatory ever launched.

Keep in touch with events in Baikonur and at ESOC by following the launch updates that will be posted regularly, both before and after the launch, on the Integral website. The launch will be streamed live on the website from 06:00 to 07:00 and from 08:00 to 08:30 CEST.

European Space Agency
http://www.esa.int/export/esaCP/index.ht ml

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