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NASA will launch Israel’s first space telescope mission, the Ultraviolet Transient Astronomy Satellite (ULTRASAT) in early 2026.


GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About ULTRASAT
  2. What is a geostationary orbit?


  • ULTRASAT is an upcoming ultraviolet observatory that will focus on studying short-duration events in the universe, such as supernova explosions and mergers of neutron stars.
  • The observatory has a large field of view and is planned to be launched into a geostationary orbit around Earth.
  • NASA will provide the launch opportunity, Flight Payload Adapter, and other launch-related responsibilities for ULTRASAT.
  • Further details about the timeline and specific launch date have not yet been announced.
What is a geostationary orbit?
  • Satellites in geostationary orbit (GEO) circle Earth above the equator from west to east following Earth’s rotation – taking 23 hours 56 minutes and 4 seconds – by travelling at the same rate as Earth.
  • Satellites placed in GEO remain in the same position relative to Earth’s surface, appearing to be stationary.
  • In order to remain in this orbit, a satellite must travel at a speed of about 3 km per second at an altitude of approximately 35,786 km above Earth’s surface.
  • The GEO is used for a variety of applications including meteorological observations, satellite communications, and broadcasting.
  • The geostationary orbit is a special type of geosynchronous orbit, which is any orbit that has a period equal to the rotation period of Earth.

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023