14 Universities Join World’s First Independent Space Science Mission

22.12.2021 North America
14 Universities Join World’s First Independent Space Science Mission

14 Universities Join World’s First Independent Space Science Mission

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Blue Skies Space Ltd. has confirmed that scientists from fourteen universities across the world have joined its first space science mission, Twinkle, as the initial group of Founding Members.

The Founding Members include institutions from North America (Vanderbilt University, Ohio State University, University of Toronto), Asia-Pacific (Nanjing University, National Tsing Hua University, University of Southern Queensland) and Europe (Ludwig Maximilians Universität, Cardiff University, University of Central Lancashire). These Founding Members are now working together to design a powerful scientific program ahead of the satellite launch, making this a truly global and innovative space science collaboration. They join five other institutions who have also secured telescope time for their research teams.

Once launched into low-earth orbit in 2024, the Twinkle satellite will deliver visible and infrared spectroscopy of thousands of targets, enabling Twinkle members to produce transformative research on exoplanet atmospheres, solar system objects, stars, and stellar discs as they aim to answer some of humanity’s greatest questions. Twinkle will provide structured science surveys which will operate at a large scale, providing more than 70,000 hours of observational data during its lifetime.

Professor Keivan Stassun of Vanderbilt University explains why his institution became the first Founding Member, “Twinkle is a unique opportunity for our early-career researchers, especially graduate students and postdocs, to be on the leading edge of exoplanet atmosphere science and enables them to engage with a positive, cooperative, international collaboration.”

Highlighting the value of global alliance in science, Professor Ing-Guey Jiang at the National Tsing Hua University, the second Founding Member says, “Joining Twinkle means we could expand our research projects to a much larger collaboration with many more leading international teams from around the world.”

Twinkle is the first in a series of scientific satellites from Blue Skies Space. Each will combine the expertise of an international science team with proven satellite and payload suppliers, to deliver an advanced satellite at a fraction of the cost and time of a typical space mission of this complexity. Membership is open to scientists from all backgrounds and experience levels and available within days.

Professor Giovanna Tinetti, Chief Scientific Officer, Blue Skies Space, says, “Exoplanet research is an exciting and fast growing international endeavour. We are delighted to see that Twinkle’s collaborative model is attracting scientists of all career stages from around the world.”

Twinkle is the first in a new class of science satellites that will deliver ground-breaking data to astronomers worldwide. The seven-year space mission, launching in 2024, will provide scientists with greater insights into the composition of exoplanet atmospheres, solar system objects, stars, and stellar discs. The satellite is based on a high-heritage Airbus Defence and Space platform and will carry a 0.45 m telescope with a visible to infrared spectrometer providing simultaneous wavelength coverage (0.5–4.5μm), enabling a deeper understanding of worlds outside and within our solar system.

Twinkle’s science programme is delivered through a growing international collaboration of scientists who will gain access to the massive data set from the observation of 1000’s of objects during the mission’s lifetime. Twinkle is the first commercial satellite being launched by UK-headquartered Blue Skies Space Ltd.

Blue Skies Space is an independent company that operates satellites to support the global research community. Through its fleet of rapidly delivered space and earth observational satellites, it optimises an innovative “space-science-as-a-service” subscription model, to help scientists answer some of the greatest questions of humankind. (Photo Caption: Twinkle orbiting in space - rendering)




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