Nanosatellites reach orbit.
Probably the smallest astronomical satellite ever, AAUSat 2 from Aalborg University in Denmark, carries a tiny, 200-gram gamma-ray-burst detector within its 4-inch cubic shell. The half pound (1-kg) satellite was launched into polar orbit on an Indian rocket on April 28th, along with an international cluster of other nanosatellites.
AAUSat's experiment was developed by the Danish Space Research Institute, which built the WATCH gamma-ray-burst monitors that flew on the Soviet Granat observatory from 1989 to 1998 and the European EURECA satellite in 1992-93. The new detector has a single-pixel cadmium-zinc-telluride crystal that's sensitive to X and gamma rays ranging from 5,000 to 300,000 electron volts. Engineers mainly want to see how well it all works, to help plan future missions with larger versions of the technology.
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|Title Annotation:||Mission Update; AAUSat 2|
|Publication:||Sky & Telescope|
|Article Type:||Brief article|
|Date:||Aug 1, 2008|
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