Canada Launches Asteroid Tracking Microsatellite

NEOSSat (the Near-Earth Object Surveillance Satellite) is the world's first space telescope dedicated to detecting and tracking asteroids and satellites, according to the Canadian Space Agency.

The Canadian Space Agency's NEOSSat (Near-Earth Object Surveillance Satellite), which it describes as the world's first space telescope dedicated to detecting and tracking asteroids and satellites, was successfully launched Feb. 25 on India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle from Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India.

Once stationed at an altitude of 480 miles, it will "circle the globe every 100 minutes, scanning space near the Sun to pinpoint asteroids that may someday pass near our planet," and also will search for satellites and space debris, according to the agency.

Images it captures will be downloaded and analyzed by the University of Calgary's NEOSSat science operations center. It is part of the High Earth Orbit Surveillance System project by Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) and has the advantage over ground-based telescopes of not being limited by geographic location or by weather conditions.

NEOSSat is funded jointly by the Canadian Space Agency and DRDC and was built by Microsat Systems Canada Inc. with support from Spectral Applied Research and COM DEV Int Ltd.

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