Ultra-fast flash observatory for detecting the early photons from gamma-ray bursts

H. Lim, S. Ahmad, K. B. Ahn, P. Barrillon, S. Blin-Bondil, S. Brandt, C. Budtz-Jørgensen, A. J. Castro-Tirado, P. Chen, H. S. Choi, Y. J. Choi, P. Connell, S. Dagoret-Campagne, C. De La Taille, C. Eyles, B. Grossan, I. Hermann, M. H.A. Huang, S. Jeong, A. JungJ. E. Kim, S. W. Kim, Y. W. Kim, J. Lee, E. V. Linder, T. C. Liu, N. Lund, K. W. Min, G. W. Na, J. W. Nam, K. H. Nam, M. I. Panasyuk, I. H. Park, V. Reglero, J. M. Rodrigo, G. F. Smoot, Y. D. Suh, S. Svetilov, N. Vedenkin, M. Z. Wang, I. Yashin, M. H. Zhao

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Citation (Scopus)


Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are the most luminous transient events with short intense flashes that have been detected in random directions in the sky once or twice per day. Their durations have been measured in seconds, especially short GRBs with duration of < 2 sec. The Ultra-Fast Flash Observatory (UFFO) space mission aims to detect the earliest moments of an explosion which presents the nature of GRBs, resulting into the enhancement of GRB mechanism understanding. The UFFO consists of a couple of wide Field-of-View (FOV) trigger telescopes, a narrow-FOV Slewing Mirror Telescope (SMT) for the fast measurement of the UV-optical photons from GRBs, and a gamma-ray monitor for energy measurement. The triggering is done by the UFFO burst Alert & Trigger telescope (UBAT) using the hard X-ray from GRBs and the UV/optical Trigger Assistant Telescope (UTAT) using the UV/optical photons from GRBs. The UBAT monitors the sky for GRB, and determines their position with sufficient accuracy (10′ at 7.0σ) for follow-up UV/optical observations with the SMT. The primary trigger telescope is based on a fast recognition of position using hard X-ray from GRBs. Whereas the fastest previous experiment, the SWIFT observatory, rarely observed GRB in less than 60 seconds after trigger, the UFFO is designed to begin the UV/optical observations in less than a few seconds after trigger. The SMT uses the novel approach of steering our telescope beam using the rotatable mirror, instead of re-orienting the instrument platform like SWIFT and other previous instruments. The UFFO pathfinder is scheduled to launch into orbit on 2011 November by the Lomonosov spacecraft. This pathfinder is the scaled-down version of UFFO in order to make the first systematic study of early UV/optical light curves, including the rise phase of GRBs. It contains two instruments of UBAT and SMT. It only allows the payload mass of 20 kg and the power consumption of 20 W. The SMT has a fast rotatable mirror, a modified Ritchey-Chrètien telescope with the aperture size of 10 cm diameter, and an image intensifier readout by CCD. The UBAT is using a coded-mask aperture for position detection and their X-ray photons are readout by LYSO crystals and Multi-Anode photomultiplier tubes (MAPMTs) with the effective active area size of 191.1 cm2. With this design, we expect UBAT to trigger ∼44 GRBs/yr and expect SMT to detect ∼10 GRBs/yr.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2nd International Conference on Space Technology, ICST 2011
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Event2nd International Conference on Space Technology, ICST 2011 - Athens, Greece
Duration: 2011 Sep 152011 Sep 17

Publication series

Name2nd International Conference on Space Technology, ICST 2011


Other2nd International Conference on Space Technology, ICST 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering

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    Lim, H., Ahmad, S., Ahn, K. B., Barrillon, P., Blin-Bondil, S., Brandt, S., Budtz-Jørgensen, C., Castro-Tirado, A. J., Chen, P., Choi, H. S., Choi, Y. J., Connell, P., Dagoret-Campagne, S., De La Taille, C., Eyles, C., Grossan, B., Hermann, I., Huang, M. H. A., Jeong, S., ... Zhao, M. H. (2011). Ultra-fast flash observatory for detecting the early photons from gamma-ray bursts. In 2nd International Conference on Space Technology, ICST 2011 [6064669] (2nd International Conference on Space Technology, ICST 2011). https://doi.org/10.1109/ICSpT.2011.6064669