The BRITE constellation nanosatellite mission: Testing, commissioning, and operations

H. Pablo, G. N. Whittaker, A. Popowicz, S. M. Mochnacki, Rainer Kuschnig, C. C. Grant, A. F.J. Moffat, S. M. Rucinski, J. M. Matthews, A. Schwarzenberg-Czerny, G. Handler, D. Baade, G. A. Wade, E. Zocłońska, T. Ramiaramanantsoa, M. Unterberger, K. Zwintz, A. Pigulski, J. Rowe, O. Koudelka & 9 others P. Orleański, A. Pamyatnykh, C. Neiner, R. Wawrzaszek, G. Marciniszyn, P. Romano, G. Woźniak, T. Zawistowski, R. E. Zee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

BRIght Target Explorer (BRITE) Constellation, the first nanosatellite mission applied to astrophysical research, is a collaboration among Austria, Canada and Poland. The fleet of satellites (6 launched; 5 functioning) performs precise optical photometry of the brightest stars in the night sky. A pioneering mission like BRITE-with optics and instruments restricted to small volume, mass and power in several nanosatellites, whose measurements must be coordinated in orbit-poses many unique challenges. We discuss the technical issues, including problems encountered during on-orbit commissioning (especially higher-than-expected sensitivity of the CCDs to particle radiation). We describe in detail how the BRITE team has mitigated these problems, and provide a complete overview of mission operations. This paper serves as a template for how to effectively plan, build and operate future low-cost niche-driven space astronomy missions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number125001
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Volume128
Issue number970
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016

Fingerprint

nanosatellites
constellations
astronomy
niche
cost
night sky
orbits
Austria
Poland
Canada
photometry
charge coupled devices
astrophysics
templates
optics
stars
particle
radiation
plan
sensitivity

Keywords

  • Instrumentation: Detectors
  • Methods: Data analysis
  • Methods: Observational
  • Space vehicles: Instruments
  • Stars: Oscillations (including pulsations)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

The BRITE constellation nanosatellite mission : Testing, commissioning, and operations. / Pablo, H.; Whittaker, G. N.; Popowicz, A.; Mochnacki, S. M.; Kuschnig, Rainer; Grant, C. C.; Moffat, A. F.J.; Rucinski, S. M.; Matthews, J. M.; Schwarzenberg-Czerny, A.; Handler, G.; Baade, D.; Wade, G. A.; Zocłońska, E.; Ramiaramanantsoa, T.; Unterberger, M.; Zwintz, K.; Pigulski, A.; Rowe, J.; Koudelka, O.; Orleański, P.; Pamyatnykh, A.; Neiner, C.; Wawrzaszek, R.; Marciniszyn, G.; Romano, P.; Woźniak, G.; Zawistowski, T.; Zee, R. E.

In: Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Vol. 128, No. 970, 125001, 01.12.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Pablo, H, Whittaker, GN, Popowicz, A, Mochnacki, SM, Kuschnig, R, Grant, CC, Moffat, AFJ, Rucinski, SM, Matthews, JM, Schwarzenberg-Czerny, A, Handler, G, Baade, D, Wade, GA, Zocłońska, E, Ramiaramanantsoa, T, Unterberger, M, Zwintz, K, Pigulski, A, Rowe, J, Koudelka, O, Orleański, P, Pamyatnykh, A, Neiner, C, Wawrzaszek, R, Marciniszyn, G, Romano, P, Woźniak, G, Zawistowski, T & Zee, RE 2016, 'The BRITE constellation nanosatellite mission: Testing, commissioning, and operations' Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, vol. 128, no. 970, 125001. https://doi.org/10.1088/1538-3873/128/970/125001
Pablo, H. ; Whittaker, G. N. ; Popowicz, A. ; Mochnacki, S. M. ; Kuschnig, Rainer ; Grant, C. C. ; Moffat, A. F.J. ; Rucinski, S. M. ; Matthews, J. M. ; Schwarzenberg-Czerny, A. ; Handler, G. ; Baade, D. ; Wade, G. A. ; Zocłońska, E. ; Ramiaramanantsoa, T. ; Unterberger, M. ; Zwintz, K. ; Pigulski, A. ; Rowe, J. ; Koudelka, O. ; Orleański, P. ; Pamyatnykh, A. ; Neiner, C. ; Wawrzaszek, R. ; Marciniszyn, G. ; Romano, P. ; Woźniak, G. ; Zawistowski, T. ; Zee, R. E. / The BRITE constellation nanosatellite mission : Testing, commissioning, and operations. In: Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. 2016 ; Vol. 128, No. 970.
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