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GALEX Observes the Universe
Understanding how the galaxies were formed is the main mission of the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX). Launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force station on April 28, 2003 by a Pegasus XL rocket, GALEX is part of NASA's "Structure and Evolution of the Universe" mission.

GALEX satellite in the laboratory Performing many science firsts GALEX, led by the California Institute of Technology team, observes galaxies using state-of-the-art ultraviolet (UV) detectors and data gathering technology.

GALEX satellite in the laboratory

Complementing information gathered by the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and other telescopes yet to be orbited, GALEX is considered a small explorer class mission and relatively inexpensive. With its advanced technology, scientists expect to understand the elements that make up our own Milky Way galaxy.

GALEX orbits in high altitude, 6590 kilometers (428 miles) above Earth for as long as 29 months, and is programmed to single out galaxies that are actively creating new stars.

Artist's concept of GALEX With a field of view more than twice the HST, GALEX transmitted images will allow astronomers to observe the whole sky and study hundreds of thousands of galaxies. Detecting faint star-forming galaxies up to 80% of the way back, GALEX will peer billions of years into the history of the Universe.

Artist's concept of GALEX in orbit around Earth

A phenomenal feat by a satellite that's only about six feel tall. But GALEX, packed with space-age technology, is providing astronomers with the tools to see the heavens as no one has seen them before.

For further information please visit:
NASA Science Center and John F. Kennedy Space Center