High Energy Astronomy Observatory (HEAO)



Washington, DC, United States

The family of High Energy Astronomy Observatory (HEAO) instruments consisted of three unmarned scientific observatories capable of detecting the x-rays emitted by the celestial bodies with high sensitivity and high resolution. The celestial gamma-ray and cosmic-ray fluxes were also collected and studied to learn more about the mysteries of the universe. High-Energy rays cannot be studied by Earth-based observatories because of the obscuring effects of the atmosphere that prevent the rays from reaching the Earth's surface. They had been observed initially by sounding rockets and balloons, and by small satellites that do not possess the needed instrumentation capabilities required for high data resolution and sensitivity. The HEAO carried the instrumentation necessary for this capability. In this photograph, an artist's concept of three HEAO spacecraft is shown: HEAO-1, launched on August 12, 1977; HEAO-2, launched on November 13, 1978; and HEAO-3, launched on September 20. 1979.


  • Title: High Energy Astronomy Observatory (HEAO)
  • Date Created: 1975-01-01
  • Rights: MSFC
  • Album: rlobrie1

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