NASA to launch first Israeli space telescope

NASA and the Israeli Space Agency (ISA) have signed a cooperation agreement. Within its framework, the National Aerospace Administration will help launch the first Israeli space telescope ULTRASAT.

The ULTRASAT telescope (concept). Source: Weizmann Institute

The development of ULTRASAT began back in the 2010s. In addition to Israeli scientific institutions, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory also participated in it initially. But later it left the project for budgetary reasons.

ULTRASAT is an ultraviolet telescope with a field of view of 210 square degrees, capable of conducting observations in the range from 220 to 280 nm. Its main purpose will be to search for transit events, such as supernova outbursts or neutron star mergers. Within 20 minutes after the outbreak is detected, ULTRASAT will notify other ground-based and orbital observatories, which will also allow them to connect to observations. According to the authors of the project, due to its very large field of view and high sensitivity of detectors, the Israeli telescope will be able to find about a hundred supernovae a year.

According to the recently concluded agreement with ISA, NASA has committed to provide a payload adapter and a launch vehicle for the launch of ULTRASAT. Also, the organization will participate in the scientific program of the mission. At the moment, ULTRASAT is scheduled to launch in early 2026. The telescope will be put into geostationary orbit.

Earlier we wrote that the Euclid telescope, which was being prepared for launch, successfully passed electromagnetic tests.

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