Kyushu Institute of Technology and JAXA to begin development of nanosatellite for mission to explore star formation history by observing cosmic optical background: JAXA-SMASH Program

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (President: Hiroshi Yamakawa; hereinafter referred to as “JAXA”) and the Kyushu Institute of Technology (President: Yasunori Mitani, hereinafter referred to as “Kyutech”) will be undertaking a nanosatellite mission – “exploring the star formation history via observation of the cosmic optical background by high-precision attitude control 6U satellite*” – under the JAXA Small Satellite-Rush Program, which is the framework of the Industry-Academia-JAXA Collaborative Space Transportation/Small Satellite Mission Expansion Program (hereinafter referred to as “JAXA-SMASH Program”).

This mission seeks to elucidate the star formation history by observing the cosmic background radiation, the total amount of light emitted from the early universe to the present, using a 6U-size nanosatellite with a small-aperture telescope. An additional aim is to generalize and expand the use of a high-precision attitude control bus equipped with an integrated attitude and orbit control system (AOCS) unit for nanosatellites.

Kyutech will be responsible for project management, mission equipment development, high-precision attitude control bus development, satellite environment testing, satellite operation, observation data analysis, AOCS unit development and demonstration (in cooperation with SEIREN Co., Ltd.), and telescope optics development (in cooperation with Cosina Co., Ltd.). Kyutech and JAXA will be jointly developing the satellite with Tokyo City University, Kwansei Gakuin University, the National Institutes of Natural Sciences’ Astrobiology Center, the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Kanazawa University, and the University of Fukui.

SEIREN Co., Ltd., will be striving to improve the performance of high-precision AOCS units and expand its own services by domestically producing these units, while Cosina Co., Ltd., will be working to expand its manufacture and sale of Earth observation telescopes for nanosatellites.

JAXA will be in charge of considering observation missions, developing mission equipment, cooperating in satellite system design, providing AOCS technology developed through technological front-loading, and selecting a commercial small-rocket launch service provider.

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