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artist concept of BeppoSAX
Credit: the Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI) and the BeppoSAX Science Data Center (SDC)

BeppoSAX is a major program of the Italian Space Agency with participation of the Netherlands Agency for Aerospace Programs. It was launched on April 30 1996 from Cape Canaveral and was operational until April 2002. It was the first X-ray mission with a scientific payload covering more than three decades of energy - from 0.1 to 300 keV - with a relatively large effective area, medium energy resolution and imaging capabilities in the range of 0.1-10 keV.

Mission Characteristics

* Lifetime: 30 April 1996 to 30 April 2002
* Energy Range: 0.1 - 300 keV
* Special Features: Broad-band energy
* Payload:
  • The Narrow field Instruments (NFI):
    • Four Xray telescopes working in conjunction with one of the following detectors:
      • Low Energy Concentrator Spectrometer (LECS)
        (one unit) 0.1-10 keV, eff area 22 cm2 @ 0.28 keV, FOV 37´ diameter, angular resolution 9.7´ FWHM @ 0.28 keV.
      • Medium Energy Concentrator Spectrometer (MECS)
        (three units) 1.3-10 keV, eff area total 150 cm2 @ 6 keV, FOV 56´ diameter, angular resolution for 50% total signal radius 75" @ 6 keV.
    • High pressure Gas Scintillator Proportional Counter (HPGSPC)
      4-120 keV, eff area 240 cm2 @ 30 keV
    • Phoswich Detection System (PDS)
      15-300 keV. The lateral shields of the PDS are used as gamma-ray burst monitor in the range of 60-600 keV. Eff area 600 cm2 @ 80 keV
  • Wide Field Camera
    (2 units) 2-30 keV with a field of view 20 deg X 20 deg. The WFC are perpendicular to the axis of the NFI and point in opposite directions to each other. Eff area 140 cm2.
* Science Highlight:
  • X-ray imaging the sources associated with Gamma-ray bursts
    and determining their positions with an unprecedented precision.
  • Monitoring the X-ray afterglow of Gamma-ray bursts
* Archive: Spectra, Lightcurves, Images and Raw data for the MECS, LECS and PDS.

[BeppoSAX US Coordination Facility] (

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All material on this site has been created and updated between 1997-2012.

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