Like a diamond in the sky, the Twinkle mission will sparkle in space as the first astronomical satellite commercial of the world. It should be launched in 2024, after securing funding for the construction of the satellite in 2022. The mission is desired by researchers from exoplanets.

The mission is planned by the company Blue Skies Space, conceived by Marcell Tessenyi after experiencing difficulties in research using current satellites during his post-doctorate in astronomy, in 2014. Twinkle is supported by more than a dozen universities around the world and received funding of the European Space Agency (ESA).

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The satellite will be built by Airbus, will weigh 350 kilos and will be half a meter long, at a cost of 10% of an average space agency mission. Twinkle will be able to make spectroscopic measurements of exoplanets, with precision similar to that of the giant Hubble, orbiting at about 700 kilometers altitude.

“When looking at distant targets, the Hubble can make spectroscopic measurements, which split light into different colors. This tells us something about the different types of chemical compounds in the atmosphere of exoplanets. But Hubble can only do this over a limited range of wavelengths, so there's always uncertainty,” explained Tessenyi.

Drawing examples of exoplanets to be observed by the Twinkle mission
Twinkle's focus is on observing exoplanets. Image: Blue Skies Space/Disclosure

With Twinkle, the postdoctoral fellow, who is also CEO of Blue Skies Space, claims that universities will be able to buy access to the satellite and receive the data. The objective of the company is to recover the cost of the equipment.

“And if we are successful, use the proceeds from the sale of satellite data to start co-financing a second generation satellite, with the goal of delivering a series of satellites in the long term,” added Marcell Tessenyi.

After Twinkle, Blue Skies Space plans to carry out other missions. “We see scientists from other fields, such as solar system science, interested in the capabilities of our mission. They are interested in ​​joining the project and helping us shape the mission,” said Richard Archer, responsible for the company's partnership development, in an interview with the website Space.

Street: Space

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