Integral Launch!

From: Russ Bessom (
Date: Thu Oct 17 2002 - 13:17:19 EDT

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    Hello all,
    I would like to share an experience with all of you!  Thanks to Rainer
    Kresken of ESA (European Space Agency) who is also a fellow SeeSatter for
    inviting me to the ESA facility (Darmstadt Germany) to watch the launch of
    Integral and the handing over of control from Baikonur (Russia) to ESOC
    (Darmstadt), for final control.  Very interesting and rewarding to rub
    elbows with the big boys!  The launch went very smooth and was very exciting
    to watch this event and to talk to fellow SeeSatters!  I met a bunch of new
    observers and plan to hook up in the near future with them under the stars!
    Integral will be in a highly elliptical orbit with a perigee of 9,000km and
    apogee of 155,000km.  Integral will be in our "neighborhood" every three
    days, so get ready for a challenge to spot this Gamma Ray Hunter!
    ESA is a very impressive organization for all you "Die Hard" NASA fans! I
    encourage everyone to visit their web page and follow along on the progress
    of Integral, a very interesting mission!  Thanks again to Rainer who invited
    me to this event.  We met on the internet through SeeSat!  It was our first
    face to face meeting this morning at ESA, I felt a little weird to meet
    someone sight unseen in this fashion, through the internet, but the
    weirdness was quickly replaced with an overwhelming feeling of friendship
    that was brought on by a shared and common interest of Satellite Observing!
    Hurray for SeeSat and the Internet!
    Russ Bessom -
    Zweibruecken Germany
    Lat 49.14.0 N / Long 7.19.0 E - 325m
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