I. The spacecraft and operations
Astrophysics Divn., Space Science Dept., ESTEC Postbus 299, Noordwijk 2200AG, The Netherlands
2 ESA Villafranca Satellite Tracking Station, Apartado 50727, 28080 Madrid, Spain
Accepted: 17 October 2000
The XMM-Newton Observatory is a cornerstone mission of the European Space Agency's Horizon 2000 programme, and is the largest scientific satellite it has launched to date. This paper summarises the principal characteristics of the Observatory which are pertinent to scientific operations. The scientific results appearing in this issue have been enabled by the unprecedentedly large effective area of the three mirror modules, which are briefly described. The in-orbit performance and preliminary calibrations of the observatory are briefly summarised. The observations from the XMM-Newton calibration and performance verification phase, which are public and from which most papers in this issue have been derived, are listed. The flow of data from the spacecraft, through the ground segment, to the production of preliminary science products supplied to users is also discussed.
Key words: instruments / X-ray astronomy
© ESO, 2001