The Australian space eye: Studying the history of Galaxy formation with a CubeSat

Anthony Horton*, Lee Spitler, Naomi Mathers, Michael Petkovic, Douglas Grin, Simon Barraclough, Craig Benson, Igor Dimitrijevic, Andrew Lambert, Anthony Previte, John Bowen, Solomon Westerman, Jordi Puig-Suari, Sam Reisenfeld, Jon Lawrence, Ross Zhelem, Matthew Colless, Russell Boyce

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution

Abstract

The Australian Space Eye is a proposed astronomical telescope based on a 6 U CubeSat platform. The Space Eye will exploit the low level of systematic errors achievable with a small space based telescope to enable high accuracy measurements of the Cosmic Infrafred Background (CIB) and low surface brightness emission around nearby galaxies. To date absolute measurements of the CIB have proven elusive; the variability of atmospheric emission and scattering at these wavelengths make ground based measurements di cult while attempts to use sounding rockets have struggled to accumulate su cient exposure time. An dedicated orbital telescope is required for a robust measurement, and Space Eye has been designed to fill this role. The scientific payload of Space Eye is a 90 mm diameter, clear aperture, all refractive telescope for wide field imaging using a set of 6 broadband filters in the i (700–850 nm) and z (850–1000 nm) bands. The telescope design is optimised to minimise all sources of stray light which, when combined with the advantages of the space environment, will enable the most accurate measurements of the CIB so far. This project is also a demonstrator for several technologies with general applicability to astronomical observations from nanosatellites, in particular arcsecond level instrument pointing stability and e cient image sensor temperature control. These crucial capabilities are commonplace in larger scientific satellites but have yet to be flight proven in a CubeSat platform. For the former we have developed a two stage ADCS concept combining high precision star trackers, reaction wheels, and sensor shift image stabilisation in the science instrument focal plane. Detailed system modelling, incorporating in flight performance data for many of the components, has verified that the design can achieve sub-arcsecond level pointing stability. We have also designed a thermal control system and concept of operations that enables passive cooling of the image sensor to below −40C despite a thermally unfavourable low Earth orbit.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIAC 2017: Proceedings of the 68th International Astronautical Congress
Subtitle of host publicationUnlocking Imagination, Fostering Innovation and Strengthening Security
Place of PublicationAdelaide
PublisherInternational Astronautical Federation, IAF
Pages4233-4247
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9781510855373
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event68th International Astronautical Congress: Unlocking Imagination, Fostering Innovation and Strengthening Security, IAC 2017 - Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 25 Sep 201729 Sep 2017

Conference

Conference68th International Astronautical Congress: Unlocking Imagination, Fostering Innovation and Strengthening Security, IAC 2017
CountryAustralia
CityAdelaide
Period25/09/1729/09/17

Keywords

  • CubeSat
  • Extragalactic background
  • Low surface brightness
  • Nanosatellite
  • Space telescope

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