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The COS-B Satellite

artist concept of COS-B in orbit

The ESA mission COS-B, along with NASA's SAS-2, provided the first detailed views of the Universe in Gamma-rays. COS-B carried a single large experiment, the Gamma-Ray Telescope, which was responsibility of a group of European research laboratories know as the Caravane Collaboration. Launched on the 9 August 1975, COS-B was originally projected to last two years, but it operated successfully for 6 years and 8 months. It provided the first complete map of the Galaxy in gamma-rays.

Mission Characteristics

* Lifetime: 9 Aug 1975 - 25 April 1982
* Energy Range: 2 keV - 5 GeV
* Payload:
  • Magnetic-core, wire-matrix, spark chamber gamma-ray detector (~30 MeV-5 GeV), eff. area 50 cm2 at 400 MeV
  • a 2-12 keV proportional counter mounted on the side of the gamma-ray detector
* Science Highlights:
  • Observations of gamma-ray pulsars, binary systems.
  • Gamma-ray map of the Galaxy.
  • Detailed observations of the GEMINGA gamma-ray pulsar.
* Archive: Raw data, image and exposure maps from the Gamma ray detector

[About COS-B] ( [Archive] ( [Gallery] ( [Publications] (

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Acting Project Leader: Dr. Barbara Mattson
All material on this site has been created and updated between 1997-2012.

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