[SatNews] The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has awarded a contract worth $1.35 million to Neptec Design Group to continue work on Canada’s contribution to ASTROâ€‘H, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA’s) nextâ€‘generation space observatory, scheduled to be launched in late 2015.
Neptec is building the Canadian ASTROâ€‘H Metrology System (CAMS), which is an innovative measuring system that will help better calibrate the observatory’s main telescope and significantly enhance the images it captures. In return for this critical piece of hardware, Canada has secured three positions on the mission’s Science Working Group to gain privileged access to the data and allow Canadian astronomers the opportunity to propose science investigations for the observatory to carry out.
Canada’s contribution to the ASTROâ€‘H observatory is aligned with several of the principles of Canada’s Space Policy Framework, announced in February: it promotes Canadian innovation by positioning our domestic space industry at the forefront of cuttingâ€‘edge space activities in optics, and it strengthens a strategic relationship with an international partner in the interest of science and technology.
- ASTROâ€‘H marks the first time Canada is part of an Xâ€‘ray astronomy mission. The telescope is designed to explore mysterious phenomena in the universe in unprecedented detail
- ASTROâ€‘H will advance scientists’ knowledge of black holes, neutron stars, and how galaxies like our own Milky Way were formed.
- Neptec began work on CAMS in 2010. The company is designing, manufacturing, assembling and testing the system for delivery to Japan by late 2014, and will also provide support to the spacecraft integration activities in Tsukuba, Japan.
- Dr. Luigi Gallo of St. Mary’s University will lead Canada’s science team. Joining him on the science team are astronomers Dr. Brian McNamara of the University of Waterloo and Dr. Samar Safiâ€‘Harb of the University of Manitoba
The total value of the contract is estimated at $8 million (including taxes) over 7 years.
The Canadian Space Agency's infosite is located at http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/
To learn more about Neptec, please visit http://www.neptec.com/
For additional information regarding ASTRO-H, download the infosheet from http://astro-h.isas.jaxa.jp/ahqr.pdf