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Ready for launch! Ariane 6 and GRBBeta



Ready for launch! Ariane 6 and GRBBeta

Slovakia is on the verge of a significant event in the realm of space exploration: On July 9, 2024, the Ariane 6 rocket will launch the country’s fourth satellite, GRBBeta, into space. This project is being led by the Faculty of Aeronautics at the Technical University of Košice, in collaboration with international partners and with financial support from the Ministry of Education, Research, Development and Youth of the Slovak Republic.

GRBBeta is the direct successor to the successful GRBAlpha satellite, which was the first CubeSat to record gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) from deep space. Over three years in orbit, GRBAlpha recorded more than 135 GRB events, proving that even small satellites can perform significant scientific research.

Mission Objectives of GRBBeta

The primary goal of the GRBBeta mission is to continue detecting gamma-ray bursts, the brightest and most energetic explosions in the universe. Additionally, it will serve as a testing platform for new technologies crucial for future satellite constellations dedicated to gamma-ray detection and other CubeSat missions.

GRBBeta is a 2U CubeSat (where 1U is a cube with 10 cm edges) equipped with state-of-the-art scientific instruments and technologies, developed in collaboration with several international institutions. The gamma-ray burst detector was developed under the leadership of András Pál from the Konkoly Observatory in Hungary, with contributions from Masaryk University and Hiroshima University. The experimental mini-UV telescope was built at the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of Toronto. Data analysis from the satellite will be handled by Norbert Werner's research team from the Faculty of Science at Masaryk University in Brno, who also contributed to the construction and calibration of the GRB detector and the integration of the GRB detector and UV telescope into the satellite.

International Collaboration and Technological Innovation

The international nature of the mission significantly enhances Slovakia's visibility in the field of space activities. Apart from scientific pursuits, the fourth Slovak satellite will also provide services to amateur radio operators, thus contributing to the popularization of science both domestically and internationally.

The primary contractor for the satellite is Spacemanic, a leading provider of nanosatellite missions in the region. Spacemanic was responsible for the overall design and construction of GRBBeta, including project management, mission design, component integration, and the integration of the satellite into the launch vehicle.

"GRBBeta is a collaborative project that incorporates various technological innovations from different partners," explains Jakub Kapuš, CEO of Spacemanic and adds: "In simple terms, we aimed to determine how much science we could 'pack' into a 2U space. As it turns out, the answer is quite a lot."

"We are eagerly anticipating the launch and hope that GRBBeta will safely reach orbit, where it can continue the work of its predecessor and pave the way for future similar missions," adds Peter Hanák, project leader at the Faculty of Aeronautics at the Technical University of Košice.

Launch Details

The launch of the Ariane 6 rocket, carrying GRBBeta into space, is scheduled for July 9, 2024, from the European Spaceport at the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana. The launch window opens at 20:00 CEST and closes at 23:00 CEST. On its maiden flight, the Ariane 6 rocket will carry eight different CubeSats, five experiments, and two test return capsules into space.

Additional Resources:

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