2000: On 2 February 2000, it was announced that ESA's XMM-Newton spacecraft had taken its first pictures giving new views of the Universe.
After a successful launch from Kourou on Ariane 504 on 10 December 1999, XMM was brought to its final operational orbit in the following week. The telescope doors on the X-ray Mirror Modules and on the Optical Monitor telescope were opened on 17/18 December. The Radiation Monitor was activated on 19 December and the spacecraft was put into a quiet mode over the Christmas and New Year period.
On 4 January 2000, all the science payloads were switched on one after the other for initial verifications.
After a series of engineering exposures, all three EPIC cameras were used in turn, between 19-24 January, to take several views of two different extragalactic regions of the Universe. These views, featuring a variety of extended and X-ray point sources, were chosen to demonstrate the full functioning of the observatory.