Credit: MIT and the HETE-2 Team
Renee, Stargazer and HETE-2
HETE-2, the High Energy
Transient Explorer, is a space observatory designed to scan the sky to
look for strange explosions in space called Gamma Ray Bursts. HETE-2 will
find these bursts and let astronomers know about them within minutes for
followup studies. HETE-2 is NASA's newest observatory in space - it was
launched on Monday morning, October 9th, 2000, at 1:38 am EDT from the Kwajalein
Island missile range. The satellite was launched from a Pegasus rocket
nicknamed "Renee". A rather interesting aspect of the launch is that Renee
is an air-launched missile - Renee was carried aloft by an aircraft called
"Stargazer". At a certain altitude and orientation, Stargazer dropped
Renee, Renee's rocket motors were fired, and HETE-2 was put into orbit.
The picture above on the left shows Renee attached to Stargazer; HETE-2 is
inside the "faring"or nosecone of the missile. The image on the right shows
the HETE-2 observatory undergoing some tests before launch.
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Page Author: Dr. Michael F.
Last modified May 26, 2001