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Air Force launches NASA gamma ray study

by A1C David Dobridney
45th Space Wing Public Affairs

6/11/2008 - CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. -- The Air Force successfully launched a United Launch Alliance Delta II booster carrying NASA's Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope, or GLAST, satellite into space at 12:05 p.m. June 11 from the Space Launch Complex here.

The launch will deliver the GLAST observatory into a circular orbit around the Earth where it will look into the galaxy to study powerful gamma-ray phenomena such as neutron stars and black holes, cosmic rays that interact with interstellar gas, dust in the galaxy, the diffuse extragalactic background and supernovae and mysterious gamma-ray bursts.

"The GLAST launch represents the true spirit of space exploration and we look forward to partnering with NASA on similar endeavors in the future," said Brig. Gen. Susan Helms, the 45th Space Wing commander.

Gamma rays are the highest-energy form of light, and the gamma-ray sky is spectacularly different from the one we perceive with our own eyes. GLAST data will enable scientists to answer persistent questions across a broad range of topics, including supermassive black-hole systems, pulsars, the origin of cosmic rays and searches for signals of new physics.

"The 1st Space Launch Squadron is proud to be a part of the NASA GLAST team," said Maj. Timothy Spies, the Delta II operations controller, 1st Space Launch Squadron. "Throughout buildup of the Delta II rocket and launch sequence processing the entire NASA, ULA, and AF team worked very well together to ensure a safe and successful ride for the GLAST spacecraft."

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