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NASA’s tiny satellite on its way to the ISS to study cosmic explosions

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NASA's shoebox-sized satellite en route to ISS to decode cosmic blasts

NASA launched the BurstCube satellite to the ISS to study cosmic bursts. The shoebox-sized satellite was on SpaceX’s CRS-30 mission, launching from Florida on March 21, and will detect and study gamma-ray bursts once in orbit.

BurstCube, a CubeSat, will detect gamma rays with energies from 50,000 to 1 million electron volts. It aims to provide more data on short gamma-ray bursts by detecting events that current missions cannot due to Earth’s obstruction, potentially coinciding with gravitational wave detections.

“BurstCube may be small, but it’s testing new technology and providing experience for early career astronomers and aerospace engineers,” said Jeremy Perkins, BurstCube’s principal investigator at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

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The satellite will be unpacked and released into orbit upon reaching the ISS. Israel Martinez, a research scientist and BurstCube team member, mentioned that the detectors are positioned to detect and localize events over a wide area of the sky, allowing for a broader range of data collection.

NASA’s BurstCube satellite is a step towards unraveling the mysteries of cosmic bursts and enhancing our understanding of high-energy events in space. The satellite’s unique capabilities and positioning to detect gamma-ray bursts will contribute to future studies in astrophysics and space science.

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