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  11-06-2008: THE GLAST SATELLITE IS IN ORBIT  
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The NASA mission for gamma astronomy sets off, with fundamental Italian contribution

Today, at 18:05 Italian time, GLAST, the NASA satellite for gamma astronomy, has been launched from Cape Canaveral (USA). GLAST was realized with an important Italian participation. It was launched on board of a Delta II vector and about one hour later it reached its orbit.
Italy gives a fundamental contribution to the mission, both building one of its main scientific instrument, the LAT (Large Area Telescope) and managing scientific data.

Paolo Giommi, Head of the ASI Science Data Center, said that “with GLAST gamma astronomy will finally reach its full maturity. Upo to now we know hundreds of gamma sources, while GLAST will enable us to study thousands of them, allowing studies that were hitherto impossible”.
“The Italian scientific community is in the position of making the best use of GLAST data”, Patrizia Caraveo, mission head for the National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF) said. “The excellent work done by the AGILE mission gave us a vision of the gamma sky that we can now study in details, after a ten- years gap that followed the end of EGRET instrument activity. We expect a lot from GLAST, especially for the study of gamma-ray variable sources study: AGILE has proven that this field is full of huge results”.

Piegiorgio Picozza, a professor of nuclear, subnuclear and astroparticles physics at Tor Vergata University in Rome, and member of GLAST collaboration for the National Institute of Nuclear Physics, said: “the GLAST mission, the third in three years for which INFN has given an important contribution, marks the return of particle physics done in space, side by side with research done at accelerators. GLAST will give fundamental information for the research about dark matter and about the existence of a new physics beyond the standard model”.
“Italy in this field shows again its excellence level, started with BeppoSAX. Now there are three active gamma satellites (SWIFT, AGILE, GLAST) in orbit, whose data are acquired and processed from ASI Science Data Center of Frascati”, Paolo Giommi concludes.


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