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[ABRIXAS Satellite]

ABRIXAS - Small Satellite Technology


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Mission

The small satellite ABRIXAS - A BRoad-band Imaging X-ray All-Sky Survey - is a follow-up of the successful ROSAT mission and will perform the first complete survey of the sky with an imaging telescope in the X-ray energy range from 0.5 keV up to 10 keV. During its planned life time of three years ABRIXAS will discover more than 10.000 new X-ray sources, mainly active galaxies above 2 keV. In the centres of these galaxies presumably black holes convert gravitational energy into high energy radiation. Very often, the centres are covered by clouds of gas and dust which can be penetrated by high energy X-rays. In addition, also X-ray sources within our own galaxy, obscured by large amounts of dust and gas, could be detected.

The scientific responsibility is with the Astrophysical Institute Potsdam (AIP), the Max-Planck-Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE), and the Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics of the University of Tübingen (IAAT). The German Space Agency - DARA (now part of the DLR) - took over the project management. Main contractor for development, construction, and launch of the satellite is OHB-System GmbH, Bremen.

Optical system with CCD Chip and mirror modules acommodated in the satellite

The X-ray optical system consists of seven twentysevenfold nested Wolter-I mirror modules with a focal length of 1.6 m which have been built by Carl Zeiss and tested at the X-ray test facility PANTER of MPE. The focal instrumentation is a novel charged coupled device (pn-CCD) X-ray detector having high efficiency and a good spectral resolution. It is developed by MPE/IAAT. With respect to the scientific and technological achievements, ABRIXAS has a pathfinder role for further X-ray missions like AXAF and XMM.

The satellite will be launched into an orbit of 580 km, 48.5° inclination with a COSMOS rocket from the Russian launch centre Kapustin Yar April 1999.

ABRIXAS is funded by BMBF/DLR.


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