Austria to launch first satellites in 2011

Dec 10, 2010

Austria will launch its first ever satellites into space next year to measure variations in the brilliance of stars, a project leader from the Technical University (TU) of Graz announced Friday.

The two cube-shaped satellites -- each measuring just 20 centimetres (eight inches) per side and weighing seven kilograms (15 pounds) -- are part of a joint project with Canada and Poland entitled "BRITE" (Bright Target Explorer).

Developed by TU Graz and the Technical University of Vienna, in collaboration with the University of Toronto in Canada, the two mini-satellites will measure the light intensity of stars with more precision than was possible until now, Otto Koudelka from TU Graz said Friday.

This could help explain how stars are formed and reveal further clues about the history of the universe, he explained.

The Austrian satellites will be launched aboard an Indian rocket in late July, although a clear date as not yet been set.

Four further satellites, two from Poland and two from Canada, will then follow in 2012.

According to Koudelka, this would be the first project involving multiple mini-satellites with the same mission.

"That way, we can maximise the observation time, the scientific gains will be that much greater," he told the Press Agency.

Ground control stations in Graz and Vienna, as well as compatible stations in Poland and Canada, will download data from the satellites.

The satellites' life expectancy was estimated at two years, but the chances were "very good they will survive much longer," said Koudelka.

Explore further: The source of the sky's X-ray glow

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

ESA places two satellites into orbit

Aug 15, 2007

The European Space Agency successfully launched an Ariane rocket from Europe's spaceport in French Guiana on a mission to place two satellites into orbit.

University of Alberta space research to solve aurora mystery

Jan 10, 2007

On February 15, NASA will launch the largest number of scientific satellites ever sent into orbit aboard a single rocket. A handful of Alberta scientists will be at Kennedy Space Center watching and waiting. For Dr. Ian Mann ...

Recommended for you

The source of the sky's X-ray glow

11 hours ago

In findings that help astrophysicists understand our corner of the galaxy, an international research team has shown that the soft X-ray glow blanketing the sky comes from both inside and outside the solar system.

End dawns for Europe's space cargo delivery role

21 hours ago

Europe will close an important chapter in its space flight history Tuesday, launching the fifth and final robot ship it had pledged for lifeline deliveries to the International Space Station.

Giant crater in Russia's far north sparks mystery

Jul 26, 2014

A vast crater discovered in a remote region of Siberia known to locals as "the end of the world" is causing a sensation in Russia, with a group of scientists being sent to investigate.

NASA Mars spacecraft prepare for close comet flyby

Jul 26, 2014

NASA is taking steps to protect its Mars orbiters, while preserving opportunities to gather valuable scientific data, as Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring heads toward a close flyby of Mars on Oct. 19.

Bacteria manipulate salt to build shelters to hibernate

Jul 25, 2014

For the first time, Spanish researchers have detected an unknown interaction between microorganisms and salt. When Escherichia coli cells are introduced into a droplet of salt water and is left to dry, b ...

How do we terraform Venus?

Jul 25, 2014

It might be possible to terraform Venus some day, when our technology gets good enough. The challenges for Venus are totally different than for Mars. How will we need to fix Venus?

User comments : 0