High Energy Astronomy Observatory (HEAO)



Washington, DC, United States

This photograph is of the High Energy Astronomy Observatory (HEAO)-2 telescope being checked by engineers in the X-Ray Calibration Facility at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). The MSFC was heavily engaged in the technical and scientific aspects, testing and calibration, of the HEAO-2 telescope. The HEAO-2 was the first imaging and largest x-ray telescope built to date. The X-Ray Calibration Facility was built in 1976 for testing MSFC's HEAO-2. The facility is the world's largest, most advanced laboratory for simulating x-ray emissions from distant celestial objects. It produced a space-like environment in which components related to x-ray telescope imaging are tested and the quality of their performance in space is predicted. The original facility contained a 1,000-foot long by 3-foot diameter vacuum tube (for the x-ray path) cornecting an x-ray generator and an instrument test chamber. Recently, the facility was upgraded to evaluate the optical elements of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-Ray Observatory and Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory.


  • Title: High Energy Astronomy Observatory (HEAO)
  • Date Created: 1977-06-01
  • Rights: MSFC
  • Album: rlobrie1

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