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MOST, CANADA’S SPACE TELESCOPE, CELEBRATES
Dubbed the “Humble” space telescope, the MOST (Microvariability & Oscillations of Stars) microsatellite was launched June 30, 2003 from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome with a 12-month mission to study the vibration of distant stars and draw inferences about their hidden composition - a technique called asteroseismology.
Although just eight years old and entering grade three in human terms, where most students are expanding their writing skills, MOST has been expanding the knowledge of scientists around the world as it continues to deliver startling results to the astronomic community regarding the makeup and origins of the universe.
From its original goal of studying the behaviour and physical characteristics of stars in our galaxy with a precision not possible from even the largest earth-bound telescopes, Dr. Jaymie Matthews, MOST’s Mission Scientist, and his global team of scientists have extended the capabilities of MOST to explore exoplanets - mysterious worlds around other stars – to try to shed light on the nature of their existence.
Although well into middle age for a microsatellite, MOST continues to exceed performance specifications. The operations team at MSCI for MOST constantly monitors the health of the spacecraft. Operational adjustments are made from MSCI’s facility in Mississauga, Canada to counter the inevitable degradation from the harsh environment of space. Dr. James Wells, head of MSCI Systems Engineering and lead engineer on MOST, observes that “…along with the scientific data, we are extracting a wealth of operations data enabling us to track every facet of spacecraft performance – key information that we are using to improve the design of NEOSSat, our current microsatellite program”.
“As well as its immense contribution to the world body of astronomic knowledge, MOST is an unbelievable engineering resource to the NEOSSat team,” explains David R. Cooper, President & CEO, MSCI. “I know of no other team that has an operational spacecraft to leverage its design expertise. Where others have to rely on simulations and models, we have a live test-bed. This enables us to tailor our designs and product assurance approach, especially in the area of radiation tolerance, to real, not hypothetical conditions. This brings tremendous value to our customers as it reduces our development time and costs, while testifying to our reliability.”
“Our unprecedented insight into building cost effective satellites that work in LEO space, is the foundation of MSCI’s latest initiative to build a constellation of polar orbiting satellites for business communications called COMMStellation™,” says Justin R. Phillips, Vice President, Marketing, MSCI “The continuing success of MOST and soon-to-be-launched NEOSSat provides tremendous credibility to MSCI’s capabilities and enables the COMMStellation™ business case.”
For more information about MSCI, please visit www.mscinc.ca. Additional product-specific information about MSCI’s MicroWheel (reaction wheel) attitude control systems can be found at www.reactionwheel.com, and COMMStellation™ at www.commstellation.com.
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