VEGA Maiden Launch Live - 10am Mon 13th Feb
Posted 12 February 2012 - 15:30
Vega is a fantastic new breed of rocket, particularly because it's payload design can be swapped around to carry large satellites or a bunch of smaller ones. Small satellites (picosatellites or Cubesats) have become increasingly popular given that they can satisfy the need for small experiments at low cost in order to add to the bigger picture. Of tomorrow's seven, one is to test solar panel deployment and another to test an atmospheric drag device intended to slow and decay future picosatellites when their experimental timeframe expires (less orbital rubbish that way).
The two larger satellites are also of interest, the LARES is a globe of reflectors intended to help confirm the precise effects of gravitomagnetism (a rotating body adding rotation to a nearby body, not orbital momentum but extra spin). That has implications for whether we consider bodies in the universe relative to their absolute space or relative to each other (which is more important, the space or the stuff in it). Also, ALMASat-1 is the initial demonstration of a widely applicable cheap and lightweight platform (12.5kg) for future instruments, of which an Earth observing mission is lined up to use.
More info on Vega: http://www.esa.int/S...Vega/index.html
ALMASat series: http://www.almasat.u...-1/almasat1.htm
Cubesats for tomorrow's launch: http://www.esa.int/S...TMCWWVUG_0.html
Posted 13 February 2012 - 11:29