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The ABRIXAS (A Broadband Imaging X-Ray All-Sky Survey) small satellite (A BRoadband Imaging X-ray All-sky Survey Satellite) was designed to perform the first complete survey of the sky with an imaging telescope in the X-ray energy range from 0.5 to 10 keV.

ABRIXAS was to discover more than 10,000 new X-ray sources mainly active galaxies above 2 keV. In the centres of these galaxies, presumably black holes convert gravitational energy into high-energy radiation. Very often, like in our galaxy, clouds of gas and dust, which can be penetrated by high energy X-rays, cover the centres.

The satellite was launched in April 1999 on a Russian Kosmos-3M booster from Kapustin Yar.

Shortly after launch, the main battery overheated due to overcharging and failed. A workaround to communicate with the satellite when its solar arrays were sunlit was tried out, but after three days the communication attempts failed, rendering the mission a complete loss.

In 2003 a reflight of the ABRIXAS instrument as a NASA SMEX mission under the name DUO (Dark Universe Observatory) was under study, but was not selected.

ABRIXAS reentered the atmosphere on 31 October 2017.

Nation: Germany
Type / Application: Astronomy, X-Ray
Operator: DLR (DARA)
Contractors: OHB-System
Equipment: 7 Wolter telescopes with an X-ray CCD detector
Propulsion: ?
Power: Solar array, batteries
Lifetime: 3 years (planned)
Mass: 460 kg
Orbit: 544 km × 603 km, 48.4
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
ABRIXAS 1999-022A 28.04.1999 KY LC-107 Kosmos-3M with MegSat 0


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