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AUTONOMOUS ASSEMBLY OF RECONFIGURABLE  SPACE TELESCOPE (AAReST)

Written by Talent KAS

Related Topics: Science & Technology, IIST

News

The AAReST mission, an international collaboration involving Indian Space Research Organisation’s Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) for demonstrating a new breed of space-based optical telescope, is poised for a mid-2020 launch.

What is AAReST?

It is a joint effort by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), University of Surrey, and the IIST to prove that large-space telescopes can be built by assembling smaller mirror segments out in space.

Key Features

  • It has three parts.
  • The core satellite or coresat is built by Caltech and features rigid mirrors and a boom with a camera and two ‘mirror satellites’ or mirrorsats consisting of deformable mirrors, one each built by the IIST and the University of Surrey.
  • The satellites will have a total mass of around 25 kg with dimensions of 350 cm x 400 cm x 525 cm.
  • The mirrorsat being developed by the IIST weighs 5 kg and features subsystems such as an on-board computer, electrical power systems, an attitude determination and control system and a cold gas propulsion system.

Significance

  • At present, the size of the primary apertures of space-borne telescopes — Hubble and the proposed James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) — is ultimately limited by the diameter of the launch vehicle in which they are transported to space.
  • With AAReST, the idea in a nutshell is to develop multiple autonomous spacecraft, each with its own mirror, which would reconfigure in space.
  • Together, they would serve the purpose of a single, large mirror.

[Source: The Hindu]

 

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