Happy Birthday for Lem!
On 21 November 2014, the first Polish scientific satellite BRITE-PL "Lem" celebrated its first year of operation in orbit. Within this year the spacecraft has completed 5270 orbits around the Earth and has travelled over 230 million kilometers since its launch. "Lem" operates as planned and performs a regular research and observations according to the BRITE mission plan. The photo on the left presents the part of sky with Orion constellation captured by the satellite's telescope, the Pleiades star cluster is shown on the part of the enlarged image.
The 5th Forum of Mazovian Voivodship Development was held on 4-5 November 2014 at the National Stadiun. The organizer - Mazovian Unit of EU Programmes Implementation - has invited dozens of exhibitors-beneficiaries of EU programmes, for which dedicated exhibition position were set up. One of them presented the model of BRITE-PL satellite and other projects and research studies carried out in Centrum Badań Kosmicznych PAN especially in the Laboratory of Satellite Applications of FPGA. Mazovian Development Fund covered the infrastructure's upgrade and the purchase of specialized software and tools for the new Laboratory of Final Functional Tests of Space Instruments, where the first Polish scientific satellites Lem and Heweliusz have been built and tested.
The Polish scientific satellites BRITE-PL "Lem" and "Heweliusz" were presented in the Centrum Badań Kosmicznych on 21 September 2014 under the 18th Science Festival. The both satellites have been already working in space. Visitors had the opportunity to learn more about the design of the satellites and to see a working model of the Polish dispenser "Dragon" that services the satellite "Heweliusz". The children were very happy to glue their own satellite models.
All subsystems of the satellite "Heweliusz" have been successfully checked within the first week after its launch. Now the operating modes are under testing phase.
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.
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.
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.
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!|
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).
"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.
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.
"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.
Heweliusz mounted in Dragon
Satellite's transferto integration room
Dragon mounted to rocket structure
Heweliusz satellite on rocket structure
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:
Dragon with Heweliusz
LFFT tests (credit: CGWIC)
In the evening August 4, after customs clearance "Heweliusz" satellite arrived to Beijing.
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.
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).
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
The more information about BRITE-PL.