The general concepts of how to do gamma-ray observations in space were well established and vetted by the early 1990's. In particular, the success of EGRET onboard the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory whetted the appetite for a more ambitious follow on. In parallel, advances in high-energy particle detection, spurred on by plans for the Superconducting Super Collider, provided an unprecedented opportunity for space-based detectors. The GLAST concept, now Fermi-LAT, was born at SLAC in May of 1992 and the instrument was subsequently developed by an international collaboration from France, Italy, Japan, Sweden and the United States. An overview of the original design optimization of the LAT instrument, done with the goal of imposing as few limits as possible on its applications in space, is discussed (along with some of the trials and tribulations of construction along the way to launch!). Now with over 3 years of science operations experience, the lessons-learned will be reviewed and assessed against the expectations. Finally, the ongoing re-optimization of the instrument and plans for how to extend the LAT's science window into the future are discussed.
American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts #219
- Pub Date:
- January 2012