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Canada's MOST Telescope Makes its First Step Toward Space

Press Release From: Canadian Space Agency
Posted: Thursday, May 22, 2003

image Saint-Hubert, May 23, 2003 - The Canadian Space Agency's MOST microsatellite is scheduled to blast into orbit on 30 June 2003. Built at Dynacon Inc. (Toronto) and the Universities of British Columbia and Toronto, MOST is being flown from Toronto to Moscow and will arrive at its launch site, the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia, on May 26, 2003.

MOST (which stands for "Microvariability & Oscillations of STars") will be Canada's first space telescope. Innovative Canadian technology has allowed the scientists to pack this telescope in a microsatellite the size and mass of a suitcase. Despite its modest dimensions, MOST will make specialized observations beyond the capacity of any other instrument, including the Hubble Space Telescope. MOST will probe the interior of stars, set a limit on the age of the Universe, and for the first time, detect the light reflected by mysterious planets beyond our Solar System.

In Plesetsk, MOST will be checked out by a team of Canadian scientists and engineers, and then mounted onto a Russian "Rockot" launcher. This rocket booster was once a nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile now converted to a peaceful scientific application.

Once in orbit 820 km above the Earth's surface, MOST will circle the Earth once every 100 minutes, at a speed of about 27,000 km per hour, passing over ground stations in Toronto and Vancouver (and a backup in Vienna) several times a day.

About the Canadian Space Agency

Established in 1989 with its headquarters situated in Saint-Hubert, Quebec, the Canadian Space Agency coordinates all aspects of the Canadian Space Program. Through its Space Knowledge, Applications and Industry Development business line, the CSA delivers services involving: Earth and the Environment; Space Science; Human Presence in Space; Satellite Communications; Space Technology; Space Qualification Services; Space Awareness and Education. The Canadian Space Agency is at the forefront of the development and application of space knowledge for the benefit of Canadians and humanity.

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For more information:
Monique Billette
Senior Media Relations Officer
Canadian Space Agency
Tel: (450) 926-4370
E-mail: monique.billette@space.gc.ca

Dr. Jaymie Matthews
Associate Professor Physics & Astronomy
University of British Columbia and Mission Scientist
MOST Space Telescope Project
(604) 822-2696
matthews@astro.ubc.ca

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