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Two low-cost, car battery-sized Canadian space telescopes launched today

July 2, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Defense & Aerospace Week -- All six satellites were designed by the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies - Space Flight Laboratory, who also built the Canadian pair. The satellites are were in fact named "BRITE Toronto" and "BRITE Montreal" after the University of Toronto and the University of Montreal, who play a major role in the mission. "BRITE-Constellation will exploit and enhance recent Canadian advances in precise attitude control that have opened up for space science the domain of very low cost, miniature spacecraft, allowing a scientific return that otherwise would have had price tags 10 to 100 times higher," Moffat said. "This will actually be the first network of satellites devoted to a fundamental problem in astrophysics."

The nanosatellites will be able to explore a wide range of astrophysical questions. "The constellation could detect exoplanetary transits around other stars, putting our own planetary system in context, or the pulsations of red giants, which will enable us to test and refine our models regarding the eventual fate of our Sun," Moffatt explained.

The launch is wonderful news for all Canadians. This is firstly because BRITE-Constellation extends the leading positions in small satellite technologies and stellar astrophysics that the Canadian aerospace industry and scientific community already occupy. Secondly, as it targets the brightest naked-eye stars in the sky, the researchers anticipate that the project will have a special appeal to the wider public, including city dwellers and especially children and teens.

Keywords for this news article include: Aerospace, Astrophysics, University of Montreal.

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Source: Defense & Aerospace Week


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