Launching the Smallest Astronomical Satellite Ever Built
A new satellite designed and assembled at the Space Flight Laboratory of the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies is part of a mission to prove that even a very small telescope can push the boundaries of astronomy. It was launched Monday, February 25th from Sriharikota, India, along with its twin. Each nano-satellite in the BRIght Target Explorer (BRITE) mission is a cube measuring 20 centimeters per side and weighing less than 7 kilograms. The satellites will focus on the brightest stars in the sky including those that make up prominent constellations like Orion the Hunter. They can monitor their target stars from whatever orbit they are placed on, and do not require a dedicated rocket to place them in a specific orbit. By piggy-backing on any available rocket, the BRITE satellites can be launched for relatively little cost.