INTEGRAL was launched as part of ESA's Horizon 2000 programme in 2002, and is an international collaboration between Europe, Russia and the USA. Its science payload is designed for the imaging and spectroscopy of persistent and transient sources of cosmic gamma-ray emission.
INTEGRAL has four highly sophisticated instruments: a spectrometer (SPI) and an imager (IBIS) for gamma-ray detection plus an x-ray monitor (JEM-X) and an optical monitor (OMC).
INTEGRAL has provided a new insight into the most violent and exotic objects of the Universe, such as black holes, neutron stars, active galactic nuclei and supernovae. INTEGRAL is also helping to understand processes such as the formation of new chemical elements and gamma-ray bursts, the most energetic phenomena in the Universe.
Support for operation of INTEGRAL is funded by the UK Space Agency
(UKSA), which is an executive agency of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). UKSA works with STFC which funds researchers to exploit the scientific data yielded by the collaboration.