The Third Small Astronomy Satellite (SAS-3)


artist concept of SAS-3
The third US Small Astronomy Satellite (SAS-3) was launched in May 1975, with 3 major scientific objectives: 1) determine bright X-ray source locations to an accuracy of 15 arcseconds; 2) study selected sources over the energy range 0.1-55 keV; and 3) continuously search the sky for X-ray novae, flares, and other transient phenomena. It was a spinning satellite with pointing capability.

Mission Characteristics

* Lifetime : May 1975 - Apr 1979
* Energy Range : 0.1-60 keV
* Payload :
There are four X-ray experiments on SAS-3 that all used proportional counters as detectors with different collimating system. The experiments were not co-aligned.
  • Modulation collimators (2-11 keV)
  • Slat and Tube collimators (1 up to 60keV)
  • Low-energy detector system
    0.15-1.0 keV, 2.9° FOV
* Science Highlights:
  • Discovery of a dozen X-ray burst sources among which
    the Rapid Burster
  • First discovery of X-ray from an highly magnetic WD binary system, AM Her
  • Discovery of X-ray from Algol and HZ 43.
  • Precise location of about 60 X-ray sources
  • Survey of the Soft X-ray background (0.1-0.28 kev)
* Archive : HEASARC hosts Raw Data in their native format

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Last modified: Thursday, 24-Sep-2020 21:10:10 EDT

The HEASARC is hiring! - Applications are now being accepted for a scientist with significant experience and interest in the technical aspects of astrophysics research, to work in the HEASARC at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt, MD. Refer to the AAS Job register for full details.