Israel to Launch Its First Space Telescope in Partnership With NASA
NASA will launch Israel’s first space telescope into geostationary orbit in 2026 under an agreement with the Israel Space Agency. The Ultraviolet Transient Astronomy Satellite’s mission is to investigate supernovas and mergers of neutron stars, among other short-term events in space, to help scientists better understand astronomical phenomena.
ISA will deliver Ultrasat to Kennedy Space Center in Florida where the satellite will be launched, NASA said. The mission, a priority project of the ISA and the Weizmann Institute of Science, will last at least three years but will carry propellant enough for a six-year mission.
As part of the agreement, NASA will provide a flight payload adapter and gain access to the scientific products from Ultrasat. The U.S. space agency and researchers from other science program partners will combine observations from the satellite with data from other missions, including gravitational waves and particle exploration. According to Mark Clampin, director of the astrophysics division at NASA, Ultrasat will enable “new observations in the nascent field of time domain and multimessenger astrophysics programs.”
Besides performing scientific research, the satellite will demonstrate the feasibility of using low-cost satellites in support of future Israel space initiatives.
The Israeli Aerospace Industry is building the $90 million spacecraft, which will feature advanced ultraviolet sensitivity and real-time data control and transfer. Ultrasat will be equipped with a wide-field-of-view telescope from Elbit Systems Intelligence and Electro-optics, a camera with focal-plane array technology from the German research institute DESY and an ultraviolet-optimized detector from TowerJazz and AnalogValue.
Tags: Israel Space Agency NASA satellite launch space space telescope Ultrasat Ultraviolet Transient Astronomy Satellite