INTEGRAL is the European Space Agency's INTErnational Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory satellite. Its mission is to observe the objects producing the most energetic radiation in the Universe. The spacecraft was launched from Baikonur on the 17th October 2002. INTEGRAL will help to solve some of the biggest mysteries in astronomy. The Earth's atmosphere protects us from the harmful effects of gamma-rays from space, which is why a satellite is needed to detect the violent events producing the gamma-rays.

Proton launcher

MSSL's role in Integral is to provide the CCD imaging detector and its associated electronics for the Optical Monitor Camera (OMC). The other countries involved with the instrument are: Spain (LAEFF/INTA Madrid: PI, mechanical structure, power supply electronics); Belgium (CSL Liège: Optical system); and Ireland (DIAS/UCD Dublin: Ground Support Equipment).

OMC is a telescope-camera providing simultaneous observations at optical wavelengths to the data from the gamma-ray-sensitive instruments. This multi-wavelength coverage is needed to unravel the complex processes occurring in such energetic objects as neutron stars and black holes. The MSSL-provided electronics allow the high-resolution Marconi CCD (1024x1024 pixels) to be read out with low noise and in a flexible way in order to maximise the scientific value of the data returned to Earth.

Artist's impression of Integral


Last update November 21, 2002
Images courtesy ESA