Two Canadian satellites will be among seven in India set to launch on Monday.  The NEOSSat (Near Earth Object Space Surveillance Satellite), the world’s first space telescope designed by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the Sapphire satellite built by MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) both will be hurled in to space around 7:25 am local time Monday.


According to CSA, the satellite NEOSSat will detect and track asteroids and satellites circling the globe every 100 minutes and scanning space near the Sun to pin point otherwise almost invisible asteroids.  The satellite will also be useful in tracking resident space objects including space debris.


The timing is interesting with the recent Russian incident, as NEOSSat is designed to detect just such objects.

The $15-million camping cooler sized satellite, will circle the Earth every 100 minutes from approximately  800 km above.  It  is the first space telescope dedicated solely to looking for potentially hazardous asteroids.


On the other hand Sapphire will look for resident space objects that includes functioning satellites and space debris circling between 6,000 km and 40,000 km above the earth.  Sapphire is Canada’s first military satellite.

In a recent interview, the University of Calgary’s Alan Hildebrand (a planetary scientist) said studies are already being done to see how a threatening asteroid can be deflected.  One option being mentioned would involve exploding a device near an asteroid while another would use a spacecraft to pull it away.


Seven satellites will be launched aboard India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle,  including NEOSSat, Sapphire,  BRITE and UniBRITE (Austria), STRAND (Britain), AAUSAT (Denmark), and the carriers namesake, an Indo-French satellite.


The launch had been postponed recently because of work on the Indo-French satellite’s rocket’s primary payload.  There doesnt appear any reason for further delays, and all seven satellites should be in there respective orbits by the end of the day tomorrow.


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