Canadian Space Agency opens NEOSSat science guest observation program

Artist illustration of NEOSSat micro-satellite in space. Credit: Canadian Space Agency.

Late last week the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) opened up the Cycle 3 science guest observation program for the NEOSSat space telescope.

NEOSSat was launched on February 25, 2013 and was Canada’s first space telescope dedicated to the search for near-Earth asteroids.

The CSA describes the telescope and this opportunity as as follows:

“The Canadian NEOSSat micro-satellite orbits in a sun-synchronous orbit at 785 km altitude over the terminator of the Earth with a 100 min period (15 orbits per day). NEOSSat, with heritage from the MOST space telescope, features: onboard star catalog enabling rapid all-sky target acquisition; an extended baffle for low solar elongations observations; accurate tracking of moving objects; and a shutter enabling dark images.”

“The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) solicits proposals for the acquisition and analysis of new scientific data from the NEOSSat (Near-Earth Object Surveillance Satellite) space telescope. Unaffected by day/night and weather conditions, NEOSSat is able to perform space-based imaging including conducting photometric studies with precision sufficient to perform asteroseismology studies and other variability analyses of stars and exoplanet systems. NEOSSat has already demonstrated imaging and photometry of certain exoplanet transits (see example in Appendix A1). NEOSSat is well-suited for the study of near-Earth asteroids or comets as it provides near-Sun observing capabilities and can provide direct parallax measurements of nearby objects due to its orbit around Earth. This is demonstrated in examples shown in Appendix A2, and Ref 4.c. Astrometric observations have been submitted to the Minor Planet Center, under NEOSSat’s observatory code C53.”

“The intent of this AO is to offer observation time on NEOSSat to the scientific community on a competitive basis. CSA is not planning to issue grants as part of this announcement of opportunity (AO). Successful applicants will retrieve requested data on the CSA open data portal or from the CADC. There will be no proprietary period applied to the acquired datasets. (Note that all data from previous cycles are available on CADC and CSA Open Data portal.)”

The application deadline is February 25, and as it happens that’s the 8th anniversary since is launched.

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive Inc. Boucher has 20 years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 28 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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