PicSat: a French small astronomy satellite with big ambitions

, Lire cette page en français , Share

On January 12, 2018, the cubesat 3U (3,5 kg) PicSat, developed by the laboratory of space and instrumentation studies in astrophysics (LESIA) of the Paris Observatory with the support of CNES, was placed in polar orbit (505 km) by an Indian PSLV launcher.

The cubesat’s mission is to observe the 23 million-year-old Beta Pictoris star situated at 63.4 light-years as well as its Beta Pictoris b gaseous exoplanet using its 5 cm diameter telescope. PicSat should also determine the size and the composition of this planet that would be seven times the size of Jupiter, and evaluate the chemical composition and thickness of its atmosphere.