ASI - Agenzia Spaziale Italiana - Mission and Projects ASI - Agenzia Spaziale Italiana - Mission and Projects


Main Theme High Energy Astrophysics

Mission Responsibility ASI-CNES

Launch Date 2014

End of Mission 2017 (nominal)

Current phase A/B




Simbol-X is a space mission made up of 2 satellites in flight formation that is set up to obtain wide field images (e.g. > 10 arcmin) of high quality in hard X-ray band, up to 70 keV and beyond. Simbol-X is a bilateral Italian-French collaboration. Its launch is presently scheduled for 2014. The mission envisages a mirror satellite and a detector satellite. It will have a large effective area and will be able to execute both detailed spectroscopy and imaging. Phase A was successfully completed at the end of 2007 and the programme is about to enter Phase B. Programme management is articulated through two joint groups: ASI-CNES for scientific management (Joint Science Mission Group) and project (Joint Project Office) and its members refer to ASI and INAF for the Italian part.


Scientific Objectives

The fundamental objective of Simbol-X is to solve at least 60% of the cosmic radiation background in hard X-ray band (e.g. 30 - 50 keV) in discrete sources and to reveal what their exact nature is, a question of fundamental importance that still remains unresolved. Other scientific objectives of great relevance are an improved understanding of non-thermal radiation emitted by galactic and extra-galactic sources and the places where the particles they generate are accelerated as well as the detailed study of the growth process of black holes.


Italian Contribution

The mission is a completely equal, Italian-French co-management. In particular, ASI will supply the satellite with optics (THAS-I, MediaLario, BClV, OA Brera), the platform of the satellite with detectors (THAS-I), the ASI-ASDC centre like SOC, part of the electronics of the low-energy detector (PoliMi), the calibration of the instrument (INAF) and participates with INAF in all scientific activity for preparing and using the mission.


International Agreements

The MoU of Phase A (signed on 15/5/2007) that will be replaced at the end of 2008 with Phase B.