Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope
What Is ISOC?

The Instrument Science Operations Center (ISOC) operates the Large Area Telescope (LAT) instrument. The ISOC facility is located at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and is run by about 40 people who operate the LAT, keep watch on the instrument's health and safety, run special programs, and process its data to reconstruct detected gamma rays from the universe. In addition, the ISOC houses an electronics testbed and calibration unit, which is used to maintain, troubleshoot and run diagnostics on FGST throughout its mission in space.

The ISOC groups prepare commands that direct the instrument's observations for each orbit, and communicate the commands to the FGST Mission Operation Center at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. The Flight Operations group monitors the operation of the LAT in real time, several times per day during communications contacts between FGST and the ground. The raw event data the LAT collects is transmitted to the ground in each communications contact, and then delivered to SLAC for processing, overseen by the ISOC's Science Operations and Science Analysis Systems groups.

NASA’s FGST mission is an astrophysics and particle physics partnership, developed in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy, along with important contributions from academic institutions and partners in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Sweden, and the United States.

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ISOC team
ISOC team members rehearse for post-launch LAT controls and data collection. (Image courtesy of SLAC Today.)