NASA has selected Spectrum Astro, of Gilbert, AZ, to build the Gamma ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) Observatory.

GLAST will have the ability to detect gamma rays from the most energetic phenomena in the universe. Gamma rays are the most energetic form of light; GLAST will detect gamma rays that are roughly 10 million to 150 billion times more powerful than the light visible to the human eye. Radiation of such a magnitude can only be generated under the most extreme conditions: strongest gravity, highest temperatures, most dense plasmas, extreme magnetic fields. GLAST will observe thousands of black holes, magnetized pulsars, gamma ray bursts, and other gamma ray sources throughout the Universe and will directly contribute to NASA’s mission to explore the universe.

Under the terms of the delivery order valued at $107 million (including the spacecraft, and all associated options), Spectrum Astro will be responsible for the design and fabrication of the GLAST Observatory, integration of the Government furnished instruments, Observatory-level testing, and on-orbit Observatory check-out.

The delivery order was awarded under NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center’s Rapid II Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity Contract. The contract is for Core Spacecraft Systems with non-standard services such as operations, launch services, components, and studies to meet the Government’s space science, earth science, and technology needs.

GLAST is part of the Structure and Evolution of the Universe science theme within NASA’s Office of Space Science. For this unique endeavor-one that brings together the space astrophysics and particle physics communities-NASA is teaming with the U.S. Department of Energy and institutions in France, Germany, Japan, Italy and Sweden. The launch is scheduled for September of 2006.

The GLAST mission will start with a one-year survey of the gamma-ray sky, after which the observation program will be determined by proposals from the international science community. The mission is being designed for a lifetime of five years, with a goal of 10 years of operations.

GLAST will be managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., for the Office of Space Science, Washington, DC

More information about the GLAST mission is available at the following website: