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November 25, 2008 Vol. 1, Issue 11


The Einstein Observatory, the second of NASA’s three High Energy Astronomy Observatories, was launched into orbit on an Atlas-Centaur rocket on November 13, 1978.

Einstein, also known as HEAO-2, represented a quantum leap in X-ray astronomy capability. Its sensitivity was several hundred times greater than that of earlier dedicated X-ray missions such as Uhuru and SAS-3.

Einstein involved scientists from several institutions, including the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Columbia University, Goddard Space Flight Center, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It was the first X-ray observatory to include a Guest Observer Program, which enabled a broad community of scientists to make use of its facilities.

HEAO-2 operated continuously until April 1981.

Visit the HEAO-2 home page.

Read more about HEAO-2 from the NASA History Office. (See p. 59.)

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