HETE2 Launch
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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Each week the HEASARC brings you new, exciting and beautiful images from X-ray and Gamma ray astronomy. Check back each week and be sure to check out the HEAPOW archive!

Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified May 26, 2001