HEASARC data archive and restoration projects


The HEASARC archives high energy (X-ray and Gamma-ray) astrophysical data taken from satellites (i.e. it does not archive sub-orbital data taken with balloons or rocket flights). The HEASARC archive contains data from all NASA X-ray and Gamma-ray missions and from non-NASA missions as a result of inter-agency agreements, for the period from 1969 to the present day. This includes only data that were still available in a useable form when the HEASARC was created in 1990.

In the late 1980s, NASA embraced the FITS format as a standard for all astrophysical missions. Starting with the ROSAT mission in 1990, the high energy comunity used FITS as a standard format and furthermore defined a number of FITS templates and keywords applicable to the different levels of data. In contrast, data from missions flown before 1990 were usually stored in mission-specific formats on a variety of media. This diversity of data formats made the long-term support and distribution of a multi-mission archive problematic, because the files from every mission needed specialized software in order to be utilized.

The HEASARC restoration effort was aimed at reformatting the old mission data into FITS formats and providing multimission FITS-based software to analyze the data. Information concerning the status of these HEASARC led restoration efforts and the archive is listed below by mission name. Other data were restored via grants (such as those of the NASA Astrophysics Data Program), where a researcher was funded to reformat and document a data set for delivery to the HEASARC archive. The status of these restoration efforts is listed below as 'Other efforts'.

Data from missions flown after 1990, of which some are still active, come to the HEASARC archive directly from their Science Data centers (e.g. ROSAT) or the mission PIs (e.g. DXS). The archive status of these missions can be found on their respective Web pages.


The mission/satellite names link to general information page on that mission which includes the archive status.

HEASARC data restoration effort

Except for EXOSAT, the main restoration efforts for the missions listed above have been concluded. HEASARC holds the raw data for SAS 3, HEAO3 , and HEOA1 A3. But due to limited resources HEASARC has no plans to restore these data.

Other Efforts


Link to general information on high-energy astrophysics missions
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Last modified: Monday, 13-Sep-2010 11:32:24 EDT