Konus, a Gamma-Ray Burst Experiment from Russia on the ISTP/Wind Spacecraft
Konus, a gamma-ray burst (GRB) monitor launched on the GGS-Wind spacecraft in November 1994, is the first Russian experiment on a NASA science mission. Dr. E. P. Mazets of the Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia is the PI and Dr. T. L. Cline of Goddard is the co-PI.
The Konus detector array consists of two unshielded gamma ray sensors located on opposing spin axes of the spacecraft. In interplanetary space far outside the magnetosphere, Konus has two advantages over Earth-orbiting GRB monitors - continuous coverage uninterrupted by Earth occultation and a steady background unaffected by passages through the trapped radiation.
Konus also provides the only full-time near-Earth vertex in the present long-baseline interplanetary GRB network (IPN), with the demise of the Compton-GRO. In addition, BeppoSAX does - and HETE-2 will - furnish partial coverage for the IPN, besides providing their own GRB alerts. The present IPN has localized a number of GRBs with sufficient precision and with adequate rapidity to enable counterpart studies that in turn have produced redshifts and other valuable GRB-associated measurements.
In addition to its GRB studies, Konus has contributed recent advances in the studies of other hard x-ray transients - soft gamma repeaters (SGRs), a giant SGR flare, and the bursting pulsar.