The Modular X- and Gamma-Ray Sensor (MXGS) of the ASIM Payload on the International Space Station

Nikolai Østgaard*, Jan E. Balling, Thomas Bjørnsen, Peter Brauer, Carl Budtz-Jørgensen, Waldemar Bujwan, Brant Carlson, Freddy Christiansen, Paul Connell, Chris Eyles, Dominik Fehlker, Georgi Genov, Pawel Grudziński, Pavlo Kochkin, Anja Kohfeldt, Irfan Kuvvetli, Per Lundahl Thomsen, Søren Møller Pedersen, Javier Navarro-Gonzalez, Torsten NeubertKåre Njøten, Piotr Orleanski, Bilal Qureshi, Linga Cenkeramaddi, Victor Reglero, Manuel Reina, Juan Rodrigo, Maja Rostad, Maria Sabau, Steen Savstrup Kristensen, Yngve Skogseide, Arne Solberg, Johan Stadsnes, Kjetil Ullaland, Shiming Yang

*Corresponding author for this work

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The Modular X- and Gamma-ray Sensor (MXGS) is an imaging and spectral X- and Gamma-ray instrument mounted on the starboard side of the Columbus module on the International Space Station. Together with the Modular Multi-Spectral Imaging Assembly (MMIA) (Chanrion et al. this issue) MXGS constitutes the instruments of the Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM) (Neubert et al. this issue). The main objectives of MXGS are to image and measure the spectrum of X- and γ-rays from lightning discharges, known as Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes (TGFs), and for MMIA to image and perform high speed photometry of Transient Luminous Events (TLEs) and lightning discharges. With these two instruments specifically designed to explore the relation between electrical discharges, TLEs and TGFs, ASIM is the first mission of its kind. With an imaging system and a large detector area MXGS will, for the first time, allow estimation of the location of the source region and characterization of the energy spectrum of individual events. The sensors have fast readout electronics to minimize pileup effects, giving high time resolution of photon detection for comparison with measurements on μs-time scales of lightning processes measured by the MMIA and other sensors in space or on the ground. The detectors cover the large energy range of the relevant photon energies. In this paper we describe the scientific objectives, design, performance, imaging capabilities and operational modes of the MXGS instrument.
Original languageEnglish
Article number23
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Issue number2
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2019
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.


  • X- and Gamma-ray detector for space
  • International Space Station
  • Atmosphere-Space Interaction Monitor
  • Modular Multi-Spectral Imaging Assembly
  • Modular X- and Gamma-ray Sensor
  • Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes

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