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New Czech instruments in space

ESA's Proba-2 successfully launched with two Czech scientific instruments on board

Prague, 2nd November 2009 - Today at 2:50:51 CET at the Pleseck Cosmodrome lifted off Russian Rokot carrier rocket which launched satellites SMOS and Proba-2. On the second of them are placed two Czech scientific instruments.

Czech Republic joined the project of the development of Proba-2 design and the manufacturing of two scientific instruments specialized on the analysis of the ambient plasma. These are the TPMU (Thermal Plasma Measurement Unit) that measures the density and temperature of ions, their composition and the electron temperature, and the DSLP (Dual Segmented Langmuir Probe) designed to study the magnetospheric plasma. Both instruments were developed by CSRC from Brno with the scientific assistance of teams of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics and the Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of Czech Republic and by that successfully went on in the development after the series of Czechoslovak satellites MAGION.

"The satellite weighting 130 kg belongs to the category of small satellites and the European Space Agency (ESA ) gives to small workplaces the opportunity to test their devices and technologies in the space environment ," says  doc. Ing. Jan Kolář, PhD., Director of the Czech Space Office (CSO) , and he continues: "This has resulted in increased innovativeness and competitiveness of the European industry, especially in the field of space research."

After the successful guiding the Proba-2 satellite to its orbit in altitude of 700-800 km above the earth's surface begins the operating phase which should last two years. The cost of manufacturing and operation of Proba-2 reach value of € 18 million only, which is relatively small amount if taking into account technological and scientific potential of the mission.

Czech Republic finishes the first year of membership in the ESA with successful launch of the devices on board Proba-2.

Proba-2 was developed and produced under the technology program of the ESA in order to verify a total of 17 new technologies, such as new lithium-ion batteries, advanced data management systems, GPS signal receiver, new photovoltaic panels and many more. In addition, the satellite was equipped by four scientific instruments, two of which are designed to observe the Sun and two for the analysis of the ambient plasma.