After a few snags with its Delta II vehicle — which delayed its launch from June 3rd, to the 5th to the 7th, and finally to the 11th — NASA's newest space observatory is finally in orbit.

GLAST launch

The GLAST observatory heads to space aboard a Delta II launch vehicle. A larger view is here.

Carleton Bailie / United Launch Alliance

The Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope, or GLAST, rode a pillar of smoke and fire as it rocketed skyward from Florida at 12:05 p.m. EDT on the 11th. Now it's safely orbiting Earth at an altitude of 350 miles (560 km). The mission's engineers and scientists will give it a thorough checkout over the next two months, and the first observations from its instruments should come in about three weeks.

GLAST is designed to study the most energetic processes in the universe, such as the jets of superheated matter ejected from black holes and powerful explosions known as gamma-ray bursts. You can read about the instruments and their objectives here.

For the moment, however, the science can wait. Instead, check out the terrific sets of images and videos from the launch.


Image of Jon Hanford

Jon Hanford

June 13, 2008 at 11:20 am

Way to go GLAST. I am really looking forward to the 1st results from GLAST especially the 'unknown unknowns' that are sure to ensue from the first images of GLAST's first look into these unstudied regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.The era of GLAST gamma-ray studies has only just begun.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Image of a.rose


June 17, 2008 at 6:20 am

Very superb view

Makes dreaming...

You must be logged in to post a comment.

You must be logged in to post a comment.