World’s smallest space telescopes going to be launched on Monday

First BRITE satellite at UTIAS-SFL (Credit: University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies)

Two tiny satellites billed as the world’s smallest space telescopes will be launched on Monday (February 25th) to study the brightest stars in the night sky especially the stars in the known constellations like Orion, the Hunter. These satellites will be able to check the star’s brightness over time.

The Bright Target Explorer (BRITE) nanosatellites, shaped as small cubes, are less than 8 inches (20 centimeters) wide and weigh less than 15.5 pounds (7 kilograms).

They will blast off atop an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) at 7:20 a.m. EST (1220 GMT) on Monday from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India.

According to the developers of the satellite, BRITE is the first satellite that will help in the study of the cosmos. Before this launch, tiny satellites were used to study Earth or test new spaceflight technologies.

“BRITE is expected to demonstrate that nanosatellites are now capable of performance that was once thought impossible for such small spacecraft,” said Cordell Grant, manager of satellite systems for the Space Flight Laboratory at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS), where the satellites were designed.

One of the BRITE satellites was developed at the Space Flight Laboratory and the other was designed by the center but assembled in Austria as said by the University officials.

Source: Space