February 25, 2013

India to Launch Canadian Asteroid Hunter

(RIA Novosti) - India’s PSLV carrier rocket is due to blast off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on Monday carrying a Canadian asteroid detection spacecraft and six other satellites, the Spaceflight.now portal reported.
The NEOSSat micro-satellite, weighting about 160 pounds and about the size and shape of a suitcase, is equipped with a telescope sensitive enough to detect objects as faint as magnitude 20. Jointly funded by the Canadian Space Agency and Defence Research and Development Canada, a research arm of the Canadian military, NEOSSat will collect up to 288 images per day, ultimately covering the entire sky.
"We believe that, if successful, this project will deliver great science," the portal quoted Guennadi Kroupnik, director of satellite communications and space environment projects at the Canadian Space Agency. "It will help to discover and to monitor asteroids and comets in the inner solar system, where there are a lot of challenges for observations from the ground."
The launch of the PSLV-C20 (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) is slated for 16:26 Moscow time (12:26 GMT). The 44.4-meter (146 feet) tall rocket will have a liftoff mass of 229.7 metric tons.
The main payload of the rocket is 407-kilogram (897 pounds) Indo-French satellite SARAL, intended for ocean studies.
Besides SARAL and NEOSSat, it would put into orbit five other satellites: two Austrian micro-satellites UniBRITE and BRITE, AAUSAT3 satellite build by students in Denmark, STRaND - a small satellite from United Kingdom powered by a smartphone, and a mini-satellite from Canada, SAPPHIRE.


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