Herschel, a space-borne telescope that will use the far infrared wavelength to observe some of the deepest objects in the universe, has finished assembly.
Cooled to near absolute zero, its mission will be to detect the most distant and faintest heat from the origins of the universe. The craft will be launched along with Planck sometime later this year. The two observation platforms, posted and operating independently at L2, will combine to provide the most comprehensive look ever at the microwave background radiation, to observe galaxy formation and to determine what theories about the origins of the universe are correct.
Other than that, the mission pretty low key.
Credits: ESA (Image by AOES Medialab)
Spaceflight Now: The ten satellites launched yesterday represented a Indian high for the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, which has flown successfully on 11 of 13 flights since 1993. Six CubeSats flew aboard. If you are interested, the story also contains some detail about the rocket and all the satellites deployed.
HobbySpace has links to individual CubeSat sites.
For amateur radio enthusiasts, relevant information is here.
Delphi C3, the Dutch CubeSat that I've mentioned a few times here, flew today. Telemetry has been received:
We have heard Delfi-C3 and successfully decoded telemetry! We have received housekeeping data and all seems to be nominal. Packets are flowing in through our groundstation network!!
As of this writing, Delphi has been in space roughly eight hours and the team is contributing regular, Twitter-like posts to is web site.
[Udpate:] Here is some hard news about the successful launch. An Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) was used.
NewScientist has posted this animation of a new kind of solar sail that might use spun, positively charged wires to repel positively charged ions to move through space. A written summary can be found here.
This is an artist's conception of a new member of our solar system, the dwarf planet Eris, which is approximately three times farther from the sun than its dwarf companion, Pluto. At that distance the small body is very, very cold and the sun appears much like other stars in the Milky Way as Eris moves among the "icy wrecks" of the Kuiper Belt.
Image source: NASA/JPL-Caltech
The very latest Carnival of Space is out. It's the biggest carnival yet and thanks to a timely update from Tyler Doering, KySat rates a mention and nice compliment from Ian O’Neill, a solar physicist from the United Kingdom and this week's host at AstroEngine. Thanks Ian!
Please check out all the great stories linked this week.
Linking to an article on improvements in robotics that we might anticipate in the coming years, Space Prizes mentions a couple of different robot prizes being offered in addition to the Google Lunar X-Prize, which understandably, is garnering a great deal of press these days.
The goal of one of the competitions, the Robot Hide and Seek competition, is to develop a robot that might find a child with intellectual disabilities who might panic in fire and hide in a burning house.
The Southgate Amateur Radio club has posted news that the Delphi C3 CubeSat - as well some others cubes on the manifest - will fly on April 28th, Monday. The satellite has been placed in its X-Pod and the launch vehicle rolled to its launch site, according to mission updates.
Working with Dutch companies, Delft University in the Netherlands will test a couple of technologies in space.
The image here is courtesy of the Dephi web site.