On June 1, 1990 the German X-ray observatory ROSAT started its mission
to open a new era in X-ray astronomy.
Doubtless, this is the most ambitious project realized up to now in the
short history of this young astronomical discipline.
Equipped with the largest imaging X-ray telescope ever inserted into
an earth orbit ROSAT has provided a tremendous amount of new scientific data
ROSAT was proposed by MPE in 1975 and after extensive advance developments
and studies approved by the Bundesministerium für Forschung und
Technologie (BMFT), now Bundesministerium für Bildung, Wissenschaft,
Forschung und Technologie (BMBF), in 1983.
Accordingly cooperational agreements have been concluded with the
American National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
and with the British Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC).
On behalf of the BMFT the German Aerospace Center
and later the Deutsche Agentur für Raumfahrtangelegenheiten GmbH
(DARA) is acting as customer while Dornier represents the industrial prime
contractor responsible for the development, manifacturing, integration,
and test of the spacecraft.
The scientific management and the responsibility for developing the focal
plane instrumentation of the X-ray telescope are with the
Max-Plank-Institute for Extraterrestrical Physics (MPE).
Here was established also the science data center for analysis and
interpretation of all scientific data gained.
NASA has contributed with the launch on the Delta-II rocket and with the
high resolution imager (HRI), an X-ray detector built by the
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO). A similar instrument has
already been flown on the American Einstein mission.
SERC has provided the wide fiels camera (WFC) a second imaging
The WFC has been built by a consortium of English institutes under
the leadership of Leicester University.
Mission operations has been performed just after the seperation
from the second stage of the rocket by the German Space Operation
Any telecommunication with the spacecraft uses the GSOC ground station