Update on CASTOR

By / par Patrick Côté and / et John Hutchings (NRC Herzberg Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Centre)
(Cassiopeia – Autumn / l’automne 2018)

The extended Science Maturation Study reported in the June Cassiopeia has its mid-contract review at CSA on Sept 12. Some 35 science cases, ranging from solar system to cosmology, have been developed and fed into defining requirements for instrumentation, orbit, operations, and data handling. A nominal suite of legacy and PI-type programs has been used to define a design minimum lifetime of 5 years.

Technical work has included reviewing updated detector options, bandpasses for UV, u and g, guiding to achieve 0.15″ images, laser and X-band communications, solar panel and power requirements, spectroscopic options, on- and off-axis optical designs, and optical components.

Work has continued towards substantial potential partnerships with JPL and IIA in India, with nominal ideas for hardware contributions as well as science interests. A group in the UK is also eager to join, and has sought funding. Some key funding decisions should emerge within the next year.

Work is proceeding well, and a well-developed and costed mission is expected by the end of the work, next March. CASTOR remains a substantial goal for CSA, and the Space Advisory Board and the Coalition for astronomy have it in their lobbying considerations with the government. The upcoming wide-field and space astronomy workshops in Waterloo and U de Montréal will be opportunities to discuss the project in the broad Canadian context.

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