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May 02, 2016

The BeppoSAX X-Ray Astronomy Satellite (1996-2016): 20 years after the launch

The X-ray astronomy satellite BeppoSAX (Satellite per Astronomia X, "Beppo" in honor of Giuseppe Occhialini), is a project of the Italian Space Agency (ASI) with participation of the Netherlands Agency for Aerospace Programs (NIVR).

BeppoSAX was launched On 30 April 1996 and operated succesfully until 2002.

The main scientific characteristic of the BeppoSAX mission is the wide spectral coverage, ranging from 0.1 to over 200 keV, it was the first Italian satellite for the study of Astronomy High Energy.

In six years of operational life it has made 30.720 contacts with the Malindi ground station and has operated about 1.500 observations of different types of cosmic sources.

The most important result of the BeppoSAX Observatory was the discovery of the existence of the X-ray afterglows following Gamma Ray Burst (GRB) explosion. This major discovery earned Enrico Costa and other members of the BeppoSAX team several international recognitions including the "Enrico Fermi Award" 2010 (assigned to Enrico Costa and Filippo Frontera), the Descartes Prize of the European Union 2002 (shared among a group of scientists including Filippo Frontera, Enrico Costa, Luigi Piro and other members of the BeppoSAX team) and the Bruno Rossi Prize from the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society (awarded in 1998 to the BeppoSAX team and Jan van Paradijs).

The Archives of BeppoSAX data is available at the Center Scientific Data Italian Space Agency, ASI Science Data Center (ASDC), the multi-mission center founded in 2000 as an evolution of BeppoSAX SDC.

The BeppoSAX mission has inaugurated a new era for the High Energy Astrophysics, a field in which Italians have a long tradition of excellence.

For More details on BeppoSAX see:


To commemorate this historic mission, the Italian Space Agency (ASI) organized on May 2, 2016 the event:

From the launch of Beppo-SAX today: twenty years of Italian successes in Space

Apr 06, 2016

An improved version of the ASDC 'Multi-Mission Interactive Archive for Space Science' tool is online!

The 'Multi-Mission Interactive Archive for Space Science' (MMIA2.0) is a new tool of the ASI Science Data Centre to explore its whole database. The ASDC is a repository of datasets from several space missions, exploring the Earth atmosphere, the Solar System and the Universe throughout the entire electromagnetic spectrum and other channels, such as the cosmic rays. MMIA2.0 is a user-friendly interface which allows scientists to access this all-encompassing and diverse databases. The tool has four main access tabs corresponding to the scientific topics supported at ASDC:

- Astrophysics and Cosmology. It groups all ASDC missions for the observation of the Universe. They are ordered according to the wavelengths/energies of their instruments, from Radio to Gamma-rays. Missions are selectable individually, in wavelength groups or in a specific spectral range. Observations of a single source or a sky region around a coordinate pairs can be retrieved (the default search radius is different for each selected mission).

- Exploration of the Solar System. This section provides links to the MATISSE tool by choosing the mission and the target. Once the user is on the MATISSE homepage the search can be performed by means of geographical (e.g. latitude/longitude) and geometrical (angle of observations) metadata to obtain both single- or multi-observation visualization.

- Particle Astrophysics/Cosmic Rays. It includes data from the only two magnetic spectrometers dedicated to charged cosmic rays research in space: PAMELA and AMS-02. Other experiments data will be added in the near future. Measurements of differential energy fluxes, time flux variations and solar flares, as well as fluxes of trapped particles in the Earth magnetosphere, and flux ratios are available in the database. The user can plot the data, download tables and graphs.

- Earth's Atmosphere/Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes. This is the newest ASDC tab. It currently gives access to data from Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes detected by the Minicalorimeter (MCAL) instrument on-board the AGILE satellite, and to light curves for the two TGF catalogs so far published by the AGILE Collaboration. Correlations with lightning and other Earth atmospheric parameters, and data from other missions will be included in MMIA2.0 in the near future.

The tool can be accessed from the ASDC main web page at www.asdc.asi or directly at