LESIA - Observatoire de Paris

Alpha and Omega of the PicSat mission

mardi 15 mai 2018, par Mathias Nowak (LESIA)

Jeudi 17 mai 2018 à 16h00 , Lieu : Salle de conférence du bâtiment 17

As most of you probably already know, PicSat stopped emitting on March, 20, 2018. The satellite was successfully launched from India in January, carrying an ambitious "fibered photometer" to Low-Earth-Orbit. This 1.5 kg / 2 W instrument was supposed to help us explore the Beta Pictoris system, detect the potential transit of Beta Pic b, study the dust tail of transitting exocomets. A proposal had even been accepted to trigger the HARPS spectrograph on alerts coming from the small satellite ! Unfortunately, none of this will happen, as the mission abruptly came to an end two months ago.

I will present a retrospective of the project, from the early development of the payload, to the final integration of the satellite here in Meudon, and its deliverie(s) in Delft (Netherlands). I will also talk about the 10 weeks of operations : what we did, what we did not do, which data ’we’ (understand : ’radio-amateurs around the world’) received from the satellite, etc. All of this will lead me to summarize what we have learned from this short-lived mission, and what we plan to do next.

Be aware : there will be technical CubeSat jargon, sordid details about a failed delivery in Delft, ’amazing’ pictures of "Incredible India", and the very sad story of a post-mortem analysis of PicSat...

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