World’s smallest space telescope

This shows the assembly of one of the first two satellites in the BRITE constellation at the Space Flight Laboratory of the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies. Credit: Johannes Hirn, University of Toronto

This shows the assembly of one of the first two satellites in the BRITE constellation at the Space Flight Laboratory of the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies. Credit: Johannes Hirn, University of Toronto

The smallest astronomical satellite ever built will launch shortly after 07:20 a.m. EST on Monday, 25 February 2013 as part of a mission to prove that even a very small telescope can push the boundaries of astronomy.
The satellite was designed and assembled at the Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) of the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS). It will be launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India, along with its twin, also designed in Canada, but assembled in Austria. Each nano-satellite in the BRIght Target Explorer (BRITE) mission is a cube 20 centimetres per side, and weighing less than 7 kilograms. The BRITE satellites are part of the new wave of nano-satellites that can be designed, assembled and deployed fast and relatively cheaply. “SFL has demonstrated that nano-satellites can be developed quickly, by a small team and at a cost that is within reach of many universities, small companies and other organizations,” says Cordell Grant, Manager of Satellite Systems for the Space Flight Laboratory at UTIAS. “A nano-satellite can take anywhere from six months to a few years to develop and test, but we typically aim for two years or less.” Up to now, such nano-satellites had been used only to monitor the earth and experiment with new technologies. “Researchers, scientists and companies worldwide, who have great ideas for space-borne experiments, but do not have the means to fund a large spacecraft, can now see their ideas realized,” said Grant. “BRITE has the potential to open an entirely new market for low-cost high-performance satellites.”…

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-02-world-smallest-space-telescope.html#jCp

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