AstroSat: From Inception to Realization and Launch
The origin of the idea of AstroSat multi wavelength satellite mission and how it evolved over the next 15 years from a concept to the successful development of instruments for giving concrete shape to this mission, is recounted in this article. AstroSat is the outcome of intense deliberations in the Indian astronomy community leading to a consensus for a multi wavelength Observatory having broad spectral coverage over five decades in energy covering near-UV, far-UV, soft X-ray and hard X-ray bands. The multi wavelength observation capability of AstroSat with a suite of 4 co-aligned instruments and an X-ray sky monitor on a single satellite platform, imparts a unique character to this mission. AstroSat owes its realization to the collaborative efforts of the various ISRO centres, several Indian institutions, and a few institutions abroad which developed the 5 instruments and various sub systems of the satellite. AstroSat was launched on September 28, 2015 from India in a near equatorial 650 km circular orbit. The instruments are by and large working as planned and in the past 14 months more than 200 X-ray and UV sources have been studied with it. The important characteristics of AstroSat satellite and scientific instruments will be highlighted.
KeywordsMulti-wavelength satellite X-ray astronomy ultraviolet astronomy high energy astrophysics mission X-ray timing and spectral studies UV imaging studies
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