Update on CASTOR

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

International partnerships in the CASTOR mission continue to develop. In October, the UK Space Agency approved the submission of a formal funding proposal targeting several aspects of CASTOR involvement by the UK; that proposal is under review, with the results expected later this month for work to begin in early 2023. The ISRO APEX advisory group met in November to review a proposed a joint mission study with CSA; a de-briefing of that meeting is expected soon. The JPL detector group continue their work on detector development towards the expected delivery of QE-enhanced detectors for testing in Canada early next year. Additional, less-defined ideas are also being pursued with NASA, Spain, and others. When formalized, any agreements will be detailed in the mission approval and funding request to the Canadian government for a Canadian led mission, in late 2023.

In September, ACURA formally approved CASTOR as a mission they will support as a national facility. This development will be noted in their discussions with Government as part the Coalition for Canadian Astronomy, together with CASCA and Industry.

The full mission definition (Phase 0) study continues to make good progress with detailed interactions between the international science team and the industrial contractors. This work will culminate in May next year. The technical development contract will continue through 2023, involving industrial contractors and NRC-HAA.

For more information on the mission, see here.

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