INTEGRAL Latest News

INTEGRAL TOO observations of SAX J1748.8-2021 in NGC 6440

20 January 2015 After the INTEGRAL detection of renewed activity at hard X-rays from a transient within the Globular Cluster NGC 6440 (ATel #7098), the source was identified with Swift/XRT to be most probably the accreting millisecond X-ray pulsar SAX J1748.8-2021 (ATel #7106). In response to a ToO request raised from the community, the Project Scientist has approved a public ToO observation of 100 ks which will begin at the start of revolution 1511 on 23 Feb 2015 at 12:20:46.

INTEGRAL back in business

13 February 2015 The fourth, and last, manoeuvre on 12 February of the INTEGRAL de-orbiting campaign was completed successfully. INTEGRAL is now in its final revised orbit. Science observations will start again on 15 February (Revolution 1508).

Where is INTEGRAL?

12 February 2015 ESA operations has provided widgets which are fed with the latest orbital tracks for ESA missions, or missions with significant ESA participation. Follow the link to `Track ESA Missions' and click on the blue name icon "Integral" to find out where INTEGRAL is.

Successful manoeuvre on 24 January.

27 January 2015 The second manoeuvre on 24 January, the largest of the 4 disposal manoeuvres, of the INTEGRAL de-orbiting campaign was successful. All operations could be executed as planned with no deviations from the timeline. As ever the satellite performed flawlessly. INTEGRAL is now back in science mode. The next, smaller, manoeuvre is planned for 4th February; see the News item on 9 January 2015. Follow ESA's Rocket Science blog for a detailed account.

AO-12 observations and preparations for AO-13 started

16 January 2015 ISOC wishes you a healthy and fruitful scientific 2015. The AO-12 cycle of observations started on January 1st and will last 12 months. The INTEGRAL target lists and sky maps are available. The AO-12 Long-Term Plan is still in preparation, pending the new orbit (see ISOC News 9 January 2015). We refer to the ISOC webpage at for further information.

ISOC is preparing the next call for proposals requesting INTEGRAL observing time. The AO-13 release will be on 9 March 2015, with a deadline on 17 April 2015. The AO-13 cycle of observations will begin on 1 January 2016 and has a duration of 12 months.

Release of AO-13: call for observing time proposals:   9 March 2015
Deadline for submission of observing time proposals:   17 April 2015 (14:00 CEST)
Meeting of the Time Allocation Committee:   26-28 May 2015
Start of AO-13 cycle of observations:   1 January 2016


INTEGRAL orbit change in January and February 2015 to foster a safe disposal by 2029

9 January 2015 ESA needed to work on a possible future safe disposal of INTEGRAL after its end of life. The requirement to study such an option was put on the project, as well as all other missions in operations, after the failure of Envisat. The disposal studies found that a permanent disposal by 2029 was feasible, with a very low casualty risk, by a major orbit control manoeuvre. The earlier this manoeuvre would be done (at suitable periods), the more efficient in fuel usage it would be - in practice early 2015 is the earliest conceivable time. After review and endorsement by ESA's Independent Safety Office the disposal plan has been approved by the Director of Science and Robotic Exploration.

This means that the project will undertake manoeuvres in January and February 2015 in order change the orbit of INTEGRAL such that re-entry in the atmosphere and permanent disposal will be achieved in February 2029. These manoeuvres, will use roughly half of the remaining fuel at this stage (any later option would be more costly in fuel), still leaving propellant for 6-8 more years of operation after the manoeuvre. Note that this coincides - within the large uncertainties on both - with the time frame when operations are expected to become limited by the power of the solar panels.

A side effect of the orbit change is that INTEGRAL will no longer have revolutions of 3 sidereal days. Instead, one aims at implementing a scheme of 3 revolutions in 8 days in order to keep a repeating pattern for operations. The final orbit chosen is the best compromise found between fuel efficiency and operational use, allowing to continue science operations with minimal impact. The loss of science time due to a higher fraction of perigee passages is predicted to be less than 5%, and the seasonal visibilities do not change significantly either.

The foreseen sequence of events are as follows:

  • Tuesday, 13 Jan 2015: 1st Delta-V, to adjust ground station coverage (optimizes fuel usage in the following).
  • Saturday, 24 Jan 2015: 2nd Delta-V, large, to achieve 4/11 orbit (4 revolutions in 11 days).
  • Wednesday, 04 Feb 2015: 3rd Delta-V, large, to achieve final 3/8 orbit (3 revolutions in 8 days).
  • Thurday, 12 Feb 2015 PM: Touch-up Delta-V, small (as required).

During this period, a suitable target has been chosen from the approved AO-12 programme which is easy to schedule and does not have critical time dependencies for the observations. No Target-of-Opportunity observation are foreseen.

New INTEGRAL data distribution policy for AO-12

7 January 2015 In the Announcement of Opportunity 12 (AO-12) the data access rights policy has changed with respect to previous AOs. From AO-12 and onwards, data or science rights to the targets or science in the field of view (FOV) of the instruments proposed by the PIs and accepted by the TAC will be allocated to these PIs with the usual 1-year proprietary period.

If the PI is from a country other than the Russian Federation, the rest of the field will be made public. This holds for normal proposals as well as ToO proposals. Since INTEGRAL has on-board coded mask instruments, it means that all these data are available to the public. Following the one-year data rights proprietary period, all data will be made normally publicly available through the public archives, i.e., the data are freed from any data rights. If the PI is from the Russian Federation a similar policy is followed, except that the rest of the field will be open only to all Russian Federation scientists currently working at Russian Federation scientific institutes.

ISDC and ISOC have prepared a novel interface to download these data, ensuring that the guest observer is informed of the data policies and accepts them before downloading the data.

We invite you to make use of this interface and to report any suggestion to improve it to the INTEGRAL Helpdesk.

INTEGRAL science operations confirmed until 31 December 2016 and indicatively extended until 31 December 2018

24 November 2014 During a meeting on 19 & 20 November 2014, the Science Programme Committee (SPC) approved the confirmation of science operations until 31 December 2016, as well the indicative extension of science operations for INTEGRAL until 31 December 2018, subject to a mid-term review in 2016. The aim is to reduce the allocated resources for 2017/2018 by approximately 10% as compared to 2016. See the full story on the SPC decision.

This is excellent news for INTEGRAL and the science community. We thank you for your continuing support.