The High-Energy Transient Explorer
2 (HETE-2) is an international satellite mission
which was launched in October 2000 from the Kwajalein Missile Range
, with the goal
of locating gamma ray bursts
and other explosive cosmic phenomena
The unit itself is a small two part satellite roughly 0.5 metres in diameter, and weighing in at 273 pounds. The first part is the spacecraft bus, which sits close to the solar panels, and contains the power, comms and attitude control systems. The second section is where the science instruments are seated. These consist three main items. The first is the French Gamma Telescope (also known as FREGATE), intended to detect gamma ray bursts and higher energy X-ray transients, and then perform spectroscopy on them. The next item is the Wide Field X-ray Monitor (or WXM), which is intended to detect lower energy bursts, but with a higher resolution, and finally the Soft X-ray camera (or SXC), a low energy burst detector, which is included to replace one of the UV cameras included on the original HETE.
HETE-2 will detect hundreds of bursts during its four year lifetime. Its design is intended to provide detailed information about the location and spectra as astrophysical events, enabling ground based observatories to zero in on their location a lot faster, and by doing so gather more pertinent information.
HETE-2 replaces the original HETE, which was lost to a rocket launch failure in November 1996. It has been developed by the same collaborative team including the US NASA,MIT and Los Alamos National Laboratory; the French CNES and CESR; and Japan's RIKEN. The technology inside is essentially the same as the original HETE, except for a new SXC detector built by MIT.
Information taken from