A total of 53 small satellites (cubesats) have been launched on an Arianespace Vega launch vehicle from French Guiana, including the PICASSO (PICosatellite for Atmospheric and Space Science Observations) cubesat.
An international collaboration led by the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy for the European Space Agency, the satellite was built by AAC Clyde Space (Scotland) with instrumentation provided by VTT Finland and the Centre Spatial de Liège (Belgium). Isle of Man company ManSat was proud to provide regulatory support for the mission by supporting the spectrum application to the International Telecommunication Union.
Just 30x10x10 cm in size and with a mass of 3.5 kg, PICASSO aims to demonstrate that cubesats have reached the technological maturity to carry out vital, compelling scientific observations. PICASSO will measure properties of the Earth’s upper atmosphere, such as the distribution of ozone in the stratosphere, the temperature profile of the mesosphere, and plasma characteristics of the ionosphere. Such observations are important for understanding atmospheric processes, which directly impact life on Earth.
ManSat Chief Technical Officer, Dr. Jennifer Stone, said, “This is a great example of small companies working together to do big things in space. ManSat congratulates all on the successful launch of PICASSO and is very pleased to have been asked to play a small part. We look forward to the results of this exciting mission.”