BRITE-PL Heweliusz not earlier than July 2014


“Heweliusz”, the second BRITE-PL satellite will be launched into orbit not earlier than in July 2014. This date remains uncertain and further delays may follow.

In March 2014, the Polish Space Research Center announced that the launch of the BRITE-PL “Heweliusz” satellite is delayed at least until July 2014.

The reason is related to launch failure of the Chinese Chang Zheng 4B (CZ-4B) rocket with the CBERS-3 satellite onboard. The launch took place on the 9th of December 2013 resulting in a mishap and loosing of the satellite. Prior to this event, the following CZ-4B launch was scheduled for the 29th of December 2013, with BRITE-PL “Heweliusz” onboard. After the launch failure further flights of this rocket were delayed until the cause of mishap was identified and understood.

Initially the China Great Wall Industry Corporation, the producer and operator of the CZ-4B, , announced that the next launch of its rocket should happen by the end of Q1 2014. However, the delay turned to be longer than previously expected and currently the earlier possible launch date is set for July. Still, the exact flight date is not known now.

The “Lem” and “Heweliusz” scientific satellites are  part of the Canadian-Austrian-Polish BRITE (BRIght Target Explorer) consortium. Both satellites are nearly identical, measure 20x20x20 cm and their mass is less than 7 kg. The constellation will analyse the brightness of 286 selected stars, which should provide clues about their internal structure. The satellites have one of the smallest scientific astronomical telescopes ever constructed.

The “Heweliusz” satellite has an additional radiation protection structure around its optical system. The satellite is also equipped with a small arm, which will measure plasma in low Earth orbit conditions. “Heweliusz” should be placed into a Sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 800 km.

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