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Canada's First Space Telescope to Ride a "Rockot"

Press Release From: Canadian Space Agency
Posted: Tuesday, November 20, 2001

Saint-Hubert, Quebec, November 20, 2001 - The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and Eurockot Launch Services of Bremen, Germany, today announced the signing of a Launch Service Agreement for Canada's MOST (Microvariability & Oscillations of STars) microsatellite. MOST, carrying Canada's first space telescope, is scheduled to be launched in October 2002 as part of a multiple payload mission from Plesetsk, Russia, on an SS-19 based launch vehicle called Rockot.

"MOST is a unique and exciting space astronomy mission involving Canadian government, scientists and industry," said Mr. Barry Wetter, Director General of the CSA's Space Science Branch. "The signing of this launch agreement with Eurockot is a major step toward seeing this project to fruition."

The MOST project uses innovative Canadian technology to enable a cost-effective space science mission involving a small telescope no bigger in diameter than a pie plate, carried on a microsatellite about the size of a small suitcase. The total weight is only 60 kilograms. The telescope will help set a limit on the age of the Universe and probe the properties of planets around other stars.

Funded and managed by the CSA's Space Science Branch under its Small Payloads Program, the MOST project is a co-operative Canadian scientific partnership. Dynacon Enterprises Limited of Mississauga, Ontario, is the prime contractor. The telescope is being developed by the University of British Columbia (UBC) while the satellite is being assembled at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS). Other key partners include the Centre for Research in Earth and Space Technology (CRESTech) of Toronto, Spectral Applied Research of Concord, Ontario, the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT) and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC). The Principal Investigator, Prof. Jaymie Matthews of UBC, leads a team of scientists from across Canada, the United States and Austria.

The Canadian Space Agency is providing $8.5 million to fund the development of the satellite and ground control station, the launch and operations. An additional $1.2 million in support to UTIAS was provided by the Ontario government through its Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund.

About the Canadian Space Agency
Established in 1989 and headquartered 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; Generic Space Technologies; Space Qualification Services and Awareness. The Canadian Space Agency is at the forefront of the development and application of space knowledge for the benefit of Canadians and humanity.

About Eurockot Launch Services
Eurockot Launch Services of Bremen, Germany, is a joint venture of Western Europe's Astrium and Russia's Khrunichev space technology companies and provides launches for operators of low earth orbit (LEO) satellites using the Russian SS-19 based Rockot launch vehicle. Eurockot performs launches from world-class facilities at Plesetsk Cosmodrome, which was commissioned in 2000 following a substantial investment program.

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Background information on the MOST project is available at: www.space.gc.ca/most

For more information:
Media Relations
Canadian Space Agency
Tel.: (450) 926-4451

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