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China powers up satellite payloads for gamma-ray burst observation

BEIJING -- The four payloads on three satellites that were sent into space from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in North China's Shanxi province on Jan 15 have been powered up for preliminary testing, according to Tsinghua University on Monday.

The four payloads, GRID-05B, GRID-06B, GRID-07 and GRID-08B, will carry out networked joint observations with those satellites in orbit to analyze gamma-ray bursts, solar activities and pulsars in the universe over the coming years.

Developed by Tsinghua University, Nanjing University, Sichuan University and Beijing Normal University, the payloads act like wide-field telescopes installed on satellites to observe cosmic phenomena.

They are part of China's Gamma Ray Integrated Detectors (GRID) project. The GRID, led by a team comprised mostly of undergraduate students, was initiated by Tsinghua University in 2016. It aims to conduct the detection of gamma-ray bursts and other high-energy astrophysical transients.

The GRID has attracted more than 20 universities and institutes, with the first batch of scientific achievements published in December 2021.

So far, eight satellite payloads have been sent into orbit for the project. Over the next two or three years, the GRID project will form a constellation observation network to conduct more valuable observations.