Update on CASTOR

By Patrick Côté, John Hutchings (NRC Herzberg Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Centre)
(Cassiopeia – Summer 2022)

CASTOR continues to make progress on several fronts. The following list summarizes activities since the last e-CASS report in March.

  1. The technical risk-retirement (STDP) contract has developed the detector work plan, involving the supplier T-e2v, the JPL doping and coating process, readout electronics from NRC-HAA, and lab testing at Honeywell, the Open University in the UK, and the University of Calgary UV vacuum lab.
  2. The Phase 0 Science Working Groups (SWGs) and full science team are meeting monthly for science development work. Under NRC-HAA contracts, specific work is continuing at several Canadian universities.
  3. The Industrial Phase 0 Mission Concept Review (MCR) is due later this month, where the mission requirements will be outlined and agreed on. The CASTOR science team has been closely engaged in preparing for this important milestone.
  4. Partnership discussions have included a town-hall meeting in the UK, attended by the UK Space Agency to advise on funding opportunities later this year. Other individuals in Europe, United States and Asia have expressed interest and are contributing specific studies.
  5. The FORECASTOR tools for exposure time calculations and data simulations continues development on several fronts with contributions from a number of students, postdocs and faculty members. SWGs will be using these tools to raise the science readiness levels of CASTOR’s planned surveys to a minimum of SRL=4 by conclusion of the Phase 0 study.
  6. The mission business case is now in development by CSA, and will be completed later this year. ACURA and the Coalition have been briefed as part of their regular activities and CASTOR has been mentioned favourably in several of the CSA Topical Team meetings, and the recent Canadian Space Exploration Workshop.
  7. Detailed education and public outreach plans are being developed by the science team. Those who are interested in being involved in these efforts are encouraged to contact Nathalie Ouellette.
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