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The High Energy Transient Explorer Mission (HETE-2)

The HETE-2 Satellite
Credit: MIT

HETE-2, also known as the High Energy Transient Explorer is an international collaboration between USA, Japan, France, and Italy, headed by the Center for Space Research at MIT. It was successully launched with a Pegasus launcher, on October 9 2000 from the Kwajalein missile range facility, an atoll in the Pacific oceon.

HETE-2 is designed to detect and localize gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). The suite of instruments onboard will allow simultaneous observations of GRBs to be made in soft and medium X-ray and gamma-ray energies. HETE-2 will compute the location of the GRB and transmit the coordinates as soon as they are calculated. These coordinates will quickly be distributed to ground-based observers to allow detailed studies of the initial phases of GRBs. HETE-2 will also perform a survey of the X-ray sky.

Mission Characteristics

* Lifetime: 9 October 2000 - (approx. 2 year mission)
* Energy Range: 0.5-400 keV
* Payload:
All instruments will point in the anti-solar direction and share a common field of view of ~1.5 steradians.
  • Two X-ray detectors:
    • Soft X-ray Camera (SXC; 0.5-14 keV).
      Two CCD-based one-dimensional coded-aperature X-ray imagers, one along spacecraft X-direction, the other parallel to Y-direction. Eff. area 7.4 cm2 per SXC. FOV ~0.9 sr. Spatial resolution less than 30". Spectral resolution 46 eV @ 525 eV, 129 eV @ 5.9 keV.
    • Wide Field X-ray Monitor (WXM; 2-25 keV).
      Two coded-mask one-dimensional position sensitive X-ray detectors oriented orthogonally to each other to measure X and Y positions independently. Eff. area 175 cm2 each. Spatial resolution less than 10´.Spectral Resolution ~22% @ 8 keV.
  • French Gamma-ray Telescope (FREGATE; 6-400 keV).
    4 NaI(Tl) gamma-ray detectors. Eff. area 120 cm2. FOV ~3 sr. Spectral resolution ~25% @ 20 keV, ~9% @ 662 keV.

[HETE-2 at HEASARC] ( [HETE-2 at MIT] (

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