team[dot]Diplomats, scientists and journalists from Poland, China and other countries had a meeting on 20 August 2014 at the Polish Embassy in Beijing, to sum up the successful mission to launch Hevelius, a Polish scientific satellite, into the Earth's orbit by a Chinese "Long March 4B" rocket. The event's special guests included: Director of Centrum Badań Kosmicznych Polskiej Akademii Nauk - prof. dr hab. Marek Banaszkiewicz and Director of Centrum Astronomiczne im. Mikołaja Kopernika Polskiej Akademii Nauk - prof. dr hab. Marek Sarna, scientists and construction engineers from the both institutes, as well as representatives of the rocket's manufacturer - China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) and Chinese Space Agency.

team[dot]On the first day in orbit Ground Station operating in CAMK established communication session with "Heweliusz" each time when it was in the range: three times in the morning and three times in the evening. The LFFT test (Long Form Functional Test) has been started today.
The BRITE-PL team present in CBK on "Heweliusz" launch day is on the right.

GS operators[dot]The first connection to "Heweliusz" was established at 10:02 am during the first pass of the satellite over Europe. The first signal from "Heweliusz" was received, which was quite strong and stable. Communication in both directions (up and downlink) was fine, practically without any downtime and delays. The House Keeping onboard computer (HKC) was switched on and housekeeping data was received. All the main operating parameters are OK.

[dot]BRITE-PL "Heweliusz" satellite was seperated from Long March-4B rocket 14 minutes after launch. The second Polish scientific satellite was placed into orbit.

 "Heweliusz" satellite operates on its orbit around the Earth! 

[dot]On 19 August 2014 roku, the second Polish scientific satellite BRITE-PL "Heweliusz" was launched at 3:15:00 UTC (at 5:15:00 CET) by a Chinese Long March-4B rocket from the launch complex of Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center, 600 km on south-west from Beijing. The main contractor for the Chinese space program - China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) - was responsible for rocket launching. Polish satellite BRITE-PL "Heweliusz" was launched according to a contract signed by the Polish consortium of the BRITE project and China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC). removed part

[dot]"Heweliusz" satellite joined on-orbit constellation of BRITE scientific satellites: two Austrian satellites "TUGSAT-1" and "UniBRITE", one Canadian satellite "Toronto" and Polish satellite "Lem". The photo on the right presents the covers removed from the "Heweliusz" receiving antennas 3 hours before the launch.

[dot]Telescopes of BRITE constellation satellites have an aperture of 30 mm and they are considered to be the smallest telescopes operating on orbit. "Heweliusz" differs from other satellites of BRITE constellation a few relevant details: telescope designed in CBK and experimental payload, composed of devices that engineers from CBK have designed for another future space missions. These are among others: a small antenna boom and mechanism for securing and releasing the satellite subsystems. The anti-radiation cover has been aslo installed on "Heweliusz" to shield the CCD matrix from harmful space radiation. The shield was designed in cooperation with scientists from Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice, National Centre for Nuclear Research in Świerk and Institute of Nuclear Physics of Polish Academy of Sciences. Radio amateurs around the world will be able to track of "Heweliusz" in orbit due to the signal identifier sent from beacon.

[dot]"Heweliusz" is already mounted on the rocket structure after testing all the subsystems. All of them work correctly. Tests of the cable connecting rocket with a satellite have been completed successfully. The satellite is ready to be launched.
On Sunday August 10, the main payload - satellite Gaofen2 - will be assembled to the same mechanical structure where "Dragon" and "Heweliusz" are mounted. Now we are looking forward to August 19 - the date when China's famous Long March-4B carrier rocket will launch the Polish satellite.

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Heweliusz mounted in Dragon
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Satellite's transferto integration room
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Dragon mounted to rocket structure
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Heweliusz satellite on rocket structure
more photos

[dot]Three boxes containing "Heweliusz"satellite, its dispenser "Dragon" and the equipment needed to test have already arrived from Beijing to Taiyuan Space Launch Center. The boxes have been washed and then the clean-room area has been arranged for tests "Heweliusz". In the morning, August 6, there was a meeting of Polish engineers and Chinese related parties represented by the CGWIC (contractors), SAST (rocket designer) and TSLC (rocket operators). The plan of testing was agreed: on Saturday, August 9 the installation of our payload (Heweliusz in Dragon) on a rocket should be completed. On Thursday the significant part of the Long Form Functional Test (LFFT) procedure was finished successfully for satellite subsystems. On Friday, several tests were carried out at the main test procedure (solar panels, reaction wheels, star tracker) and checking Polish experimental payload.
A few photos from the clean-room in Taiyuan:

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TSCL team
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Dragon with Heweliusz
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LFFT tests (credit: CGWIC)

[dot] In the evening August 4, after customs clearance "Heweliusz" satellite arrived to Beijing.

[dot]All the tests of "Heweliusz" and its dispenser "Dragon" have already been completed in CBK. Currently, the two instruments are packaged and they will start their journey from Warsaw to Chinese launch base Taiyuan on 3 August. The launch of the Polish satellite is scheduled on 19 August 2014 from Taiyuan.

BRITE-CA[dot] On 19 June 2014, two Canadian satellites of BRITE constellation: "Toronto" and "Montreal" were launched from Yasny, Russia on a Dnepr launch vehicle. They joined in space three other BRITE satellites: two Austrian (in space from March 2013) and the Polish satellite "Lem" (from November 2013).

[dot]The second Polish satellite "Heweliusz" is subjected to final tests in the "clean-room" in our institute. Soon it will be packaged and will be departed for China on Taiyuan launch base from where it will be launched by Long March 4B rocket. The Chinese announced that satellite's launch will be performed not earlier than mid-August.

BRITE-PL w ONZ[dot]On 11 June 2014, the first day of the meeting of the 57th session of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) on permanent exhibition dedicated space at the headquarters of the United Nations in Vienna, painting by Jan Matejko was unveiled showing Nicolaus Copernicus conversation with God, and the model of Polish satellite BRITE-PL.
Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) was established by the UN General Assembly. The main objective of the committee is to review and establish international cooperation in the peaceful use of outer space, the development of strategic programs in this field, promoting research and disseminating information on space technologies, as well as research and solving legal problems relating to space exploration.

meeting1[dot]"Lem" has completed two thousand orbits around the Earth!
The scientific meeting on BRITE-PL observations took place in CAMK on April, 4. The current information about the final tests of commissioning phase was given in the first part of the meeting, while the other part was devoted to the planned routine operation on satellites in orbit. The selection of fields to further observation for BRITE-Constellation was presented, as well as the prospects for ground-based observations accompanying this project.

[dot]The Austrian BRITE satellites (UniBRITE and BRITE-Austria) were launched on February 25, 2013. Commissioning of all engineering functionality was completed on both satellites by the end of October 2013. Using the Orion field, preliminary science data collection and general performance optimization followed and was concluded by the end of February 2014.

gerber[dot]On 29 January 2014 "Lem" orbited the Earth for the thousandth time!
Until then, all subsystems of the satellite have been checked and since the beginning of February tests of operating modes have started.

[dot]BRITE Constellation was included in the #7 entry in the Top Ten Science Stories of 2013, as chosen by Bob McDonald, host of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) radio show Quirks & Quarks, and the main science journalist for CBC radio and television.

[dot]In the middle of December the satellite's spatial orientation system tests have been completed. It was verified that the system is working correctly; it is able to determine the orientation of a satellite in space, the position of the orbit and it estimates the status parameters. The next step of the commissioning phase will be satellite detumbling which usually occurs immediately after separation from the ejector. Now "Lem" orbiting the Earth rotates around its own axis - it performs one turnover within 35 seconds. Such tumbling makes astronomical observations difficult or even impossible, since during photometric measurements the satellite should keep a stable orientation relative to the stars. orbita
The image on the right shows the screen shot from the ground station monitor controlling the BRITE-PL mission. On the screen one can see the track of our satellite during one orbit around the Earth and its position at a given moment.

[dot]On 28 November application software was uploaded to the Attitude Determination and Control computer which controls satellite spatial orientation. Functional tests of ADCC have been completed. That concludes the first part of the commissioning phase. The correct operation of the two on-board computers (HKC and ADCC) was fully tested. Tests of other subsystems will take place in the nearest future as well as the tests of the telescope computer and calibration of the telescope.
temperaturaDuring the last passes full data from previous days has been collected together with a set of housekeeping information. All technical parameters of the satellite are correct. The temperature of the satellite has increased by several degrees since the launch. The chart on the left shows how the temperature of one of "Lem" panels is changing depending on its spatial orientation and its position in orbit (the temperature increases when the satellite is lit by the Sun and it decreases when the satellite is in the shadow of the Earth).

[dot]Regular communication with BRITE-PL "Lem" has been established and is taking place during morning and evening passes.
On Monday, Nov 25, LFFT tests (Long Form Functional Tests) of the House Keeping Computer (HKC) were completed. HKC is one of three computers installed aboard "Lem". The test completion means the end of HKC commissioning and it is the first step to reach the full functionality of the satellite. The second computer controlling the attitude control of the satellite (ADCC computer) has been turned on and is undergoing functionality tests.

 The functional tests of "Lem" has begun in orbit. The satellite operates according to the plan. 

certyfikat Lem[dot]After a successful launch on 21 November the first Polish scientific satellite "Lem" currently orbits the Earth. Six communication sessions with "Lem" were established till Friday midday. On Friday functional tests of satellite in the orbit started as planned.

[dot]Four communication sessions with "Lem" were established on Thursday when significant housekeeping was received. The satellite is in good condition. The session of 9:20 am also confirmed it. Two more satellite passes over Europe and respective communication sessions are expected on Friday morning, the next are predicted for the evening.
"Lem" is orbiting the Earth with an orbit cycle time of 100 minutes. The possibility of transmitting and receiving signals to/from the satellite by the ground station in Warsaw occurs when the "Lem" is in the range of our station. Due to the configuration of the orbits, the favorable conditions appear twice a day: during morning and evening passes.

[dot]In the first twelve hours after inserting "Lem" in orbit communication with it was established several times. The first connection occurred on Thursday morning during the first satellite pass over Europe, the attempt to connect with the satelilte during the second pass over Warsaw failed - the most likely reason for the failure was the lack of precise coordinates of "Lem". The next communication downlink from "Lem" was achieved in the afternoon. At 5:00 pm CEST data from our satellite was received by the ground station at SFL UTIAS in Toronto, when "Lem" passed over Eastern Canada. In the subsequent pass over Canada another successful attempt took place in establishing contact with our satellite and downloading data. At 7:30 pm the ground station in Warsaw received the housekeeping data when the satellite again passed over Poland.
Currently the phase LEOP (Launch and Early Orbit Phase) is performed, the most critical period of the entire mission, in which engineers responsible for the project are monitoring and controlling the operation of the satellite transceivers after the final orbit has been achieved. The initial switch-on and functional check-out of the satellite is tested in this phase. Then commissioning test will be performed with functional end-to-end checking of subsystems, proceeding from simple to complex operations and the instrument calibration. This phase will last up to three months, and subsequently "Lem" will start its scientific activity, ie. it will perform regular observations of the brightest stars of our Galaxy.

[dot]The ceremony dedicated to the launch of the First Polish Scientific Satellite to the Earth orbit took place in the Lecture Hall in Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center (CAMK) at Bartycka 18 in the morning of November 21, 2013. Among guests invited to the event in CAMK there were members of the Polish Parliament, the representatives of the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the Ministry of Economy.

Ceremony Program:
10:45 welcome to the meeting participants by the directors of CAMK and CBK
11:00 the lecture "BRITE-PL The First Polish Scientific Satellite" of dr Piotr Orleański from CBK
11:20 bezpośrednia transmisja ze stacji kontroli lotów z CAMK i próba nawiązania kontaktu z satelitą oraz odbiór danych z orbity
11:40 the lecture "Taking the pulse of the brightest star" of prof. Gerard Handler from CAMK
11:55 the lecture "RS-20 Rocket Dniepr" of prof. Paweł Moskalik from CAMK
12:10 presentation "BRITE Ground Station"
12:15 refreshments and briefing for the media

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The Directors of CAMK and CBK
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The lecture of dr inż. Piotr Orleański
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Ground station in CAMK PAN
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The BRITE-PL Project Manager
more photos from the ceremony

[dot]One hour and 38 minutes after the launch of the Dnepr rocket, during the first pass of the satellite over Europe, the connection to "Lem" was established. This was the first technical connection to the satellite, achieved in spite of the limited communication conditions, mainly because of the bad flight parameters (the low elevation). Within the period of 12 minutes the initiating command was sent to the satellite to switch-on the onboard computer, the first packet of telemetry (housekeeping) was received to get info about the health of satellite and its subsystems. Application software was loaded to HKC computer as well.

[dot]The seperation of the satellite BRITE-PL "Lem" from the top level of the Dniepr carrier rocket occurred after 15 minutes and 50 seconds after launch at the altitude of 650 km above the Indian Ocean and in this way the Polish satellite was placed in orbit.

[dot]Video movie of the launch Dnepr rockets RS-20 with Polish satellite is available on the Kosmotras webpage.

 The launch of the Polish satellite BRITE-PL "Lem" was successfully performed by RS-20 rocket Dnepr! 

rakieta DNIEPR[dot]On 21 November 2013 at 7:10:11 UTC time (8:10:11 CEST -Central European time CET) Russian Dnepr rocket RS-20 reached low Earth orbit with the First Polish Scientific Satellite BRITE-PL "Lem".
Dnepr rocket was launched from an underground silo in Yasny military base in the Southern Urals. The Ministry of Defense of Russia is responsible for rocket launching.
Polish satellite BRITE-PL "Lem" was launched according to a contract signed by the Polish consortium of the BRITE project and Space Flight Laboratory (designer of the BRITE satellites) who hired the Ukrainian-Russian-Kazach company Kosmotras. The Polish part of the BRITE project Consortium consists of: Centrum Astronomiczne PAN im. Mikołaja Kopernika and Centrum Badań Kosmicznych PAN.

[dot]In October/November BRITE-PL "Lem" satellite was being prepared for installation on the Dnepr rocket and it passed final tests. Engineers from the CBK and SFL worked on readying "Lem for launch". Because of the previous experience of SFL team, their support at this stage of the testing was to ensure maximum safety of our satellite. Polish experts took an active part in all stages of preparing LEM for take-off. Assembly took place at a launch base located 22 kilometers from the launch pad. On November 8, the assembly of the satellite with its separation device, XPOD has begun on the Dniepr rocket. About a week before launch, the military took over the entire head with all mounted satellites and relocated it to the launch pad. Below there are a few pictures from the tests in Yasny launch base.

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"Lem" unpacking in Yasny launch base
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Transport of "Lem" to the rocket's head
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"Lem" assembling on the rocket's head
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Polish satellite "Lem" and Japan "Wnisat-1"
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Head cover of Dniepr
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The last photo of "Lem" on the Earth

[dot]On 25th of September 2013, at the "Warsaw Autumn" International Festival of Contemporary Music, a musical composition entitled Machinae coelestis premiered. The piece composed for the symphony orchestra and choir commemorates the construction of the second polish scientific satellite - BRITE-PL Hevelius, named after the Polish astronomer.
The oratio was composed by Stanislaw Krupowicz at the request of Space Research Centre PAS and "Warsaw Autumn" International Festival of Contemporary Music. It is worth mentioning that the oratio consist of three texts related to Johannes Hevelius scientific publications. Full title of his work is Machinae coelestis pars posterior, taken from The Book of Isaiah, motto of the work Selenographia and motto from the front page of Epistolae II - two Johannes Hevelius' letters. The great asset of this performance was the use of Polish Radio Concert Studio acoustic. Thanks to that, the "cosmic" nature of this composition was brought out.
After the concert, the Director of CBK, Prof. Marek Banaszkiewicz, presented to the composer and artists performing the oratorio the certificates to authenticate that the Hewelisz satellite carried the logo of "Warsaw Autumn" Festival, Camerata Silesia singers (the performers) and the name of Stanisław Krupowicz (the composer).

[dot]The First Polish Scientific Satellite "Lem" has finished its last tests in the clean-room at the Centrum Badań Kosmicznych and it has started its journey to Yasny launch base leaving CBK on 23 September 2013. "Lem" will be launched on Dnepr rocket in November. Below there are a few pictures from the packing procedure.

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The last test of "Lem" satellite in CBK
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"Lem" is ready to be placed in XPOD
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Satellite "Lem" placed into XPOD
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"Lem" and XPOD mounted in transport cover
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The last activities with "Lem" in CBK
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"Lem" packed in the shipment box

znaczek Brite-Heweliusz [dot]On 31 July 2013 the Polish Post Office issued the stamp and the envelope FDC in commemoration of the "Heweliusz" satellite. The stamp of nominal 4,55 zł, designed by Jan Konarzewski in format of block, was issued in total printing of 300 000.

LM-4 [dot]The selection of the most favorable tender in the procedure concerning launching of Polish scientific satellite BRITE-PL/Heweliusz into Earth orbit was made on 15 July 2013. The tender submitted by the company China Great Wall Industry Corporation was accepted. The launch of the rocket Long March LM-4 with "Heweliusz" satellite is planned to be at the end of 2013.
Currently the tests of Polish payload, that will be mounted on Heweliusz, have been finished and the integration of the entire satellite is continued.

[dot]The more information about BRITE-PL.

last update 22 August 2014
 

 
 
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