Starting in the middle of September, the Polish scientific BRITE-PL Lem satellite will undergo the integration phase. At the same time, an additional payload will be selected for Heweliusz, the second spacecraft of the BRITE-PL project.
Over a month ago we reported about the flatsat work stage of the Lem satellite. At that time, the calibration of the optical system was being done and should be close to its conclusion. This phase ofdevelopement is predicted to be finished in the middle of September, after which the satellite integration will begin.
Next, the Lem satellite will undergo a series of tests, including vibration and functional checks. The latter will take place in a vacuum-thermal chamber, which simulates orbital conditions. Such tests are part of every satellite project and help to identify potential problems with the spacecraft, which might happen during launch or orbital operations.
The work is progressing not only on the Lem satellite, but also on Heweliusz. The second spacecraft of BRITE-PL is scheduled to be launched approximately one year after Lem and will contain several additional subsystems. Currently, detailed analyses are being done before the selection of its additional payload. The chosen instruments will be designed and fabricated in Poland.
The BRITE-PL project was accepted by the Polish government in December 2009 and since its introduction the plan was to assemble, test and operate two micro-satellites. The prime contractor for this project is the Polish Space Research Centre (Centrum Badań Kosmicznych). The two BRITE-PL satellites are based on the CanX-3 design developed by the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies, Space Flight Laboratory (UTIAS/SFL). CanX-3 is a micro-satellite, 20x20x20 cm in size and 7 kg in mass. The main purpose of the BRITE-PL satellites is to make astro-seismology measurements of several brightest stars.