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Insights into the beginnings of the Universe

The gamma-ray observatory Integral (International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory), built under contract to ESA, is exploring the gamma ray spectrum of the universe to investigate the initial phases of the universe’s development. It is shedding light on how the chemical elements were formed and where the incredibly short-lived releases of gamma radiation come from.

Integral is also exploring high-energy bursts and checking the existence of black holes, thereby complementing the measurements XMM X-ray telescope. The satellite has two main parts; the service module and the payload module carrying the four scientific instruments. Airbus Defence and Space supplied the anti-coincidence system (ACS), which protects the spectrometer from interfering with high-energy protons.

The launch of Integral on a Russian Proton launcher took place in October 2002.

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