3 years ago

Short life and abrupt death of PicSat, a small 3U CubeSat dreaming of exoplanet detection.

Mathias Nowak, Sylvestre Lacour, Antoine Crouzier, Lester David, Vincent Lapeyrère, Guillaume Schworer

PicSat was a three unit CubeSat (measuring 30 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm) which was developed to monitor the beta Pictoris system. The main science objective was the detection of a possible transit of the giant planet beta Pictoris b's Hill sphere. Secondary objectives included studying the circumstellar disk, and detecting exocomets in the visible band. The mission also had a technical objective: demonstrate our ability to inject starlight in a single mode fiber, on a small satellite platform. To answer all those objectives, a dedicated opto-mechanical payload was built, and integrated in a commercial 3U platform, along with a commercial ADCS (Attitude Determination and Control System). The satellite successfully reached Low Earth Orbit on the PSLV-C40 rocket, on January, 12, 2018. Unfortunately, on March, 20, 2018, after 10 weeks of operations, the satellite fell silent, and the mission came to an early end. Furthermore, due to a failure of the ADCS, the satellite never actually pointed toward its target star during the 10 weeks of operations. In this paper, we report on the PicSat mission development process, and on the reasons why it did not deliver any useful astronomical data.

Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1901.02677

DOI: arXiv:1901.02677v1

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.