Leicester-Mumbai collaboration on space camera

The camera, which has been designed at Leicester and will be sent to Mumbai for installation in Astrosat, has involved close collaboration between scientists in the two countries.

The delegates from the Tata Institute are in Leicester to discuss the final stages of the design and to bring the Leicester team up-to-date on the status of the Astrosat mission. They will also be discussing future areas of collaboration.

Guy Peters, Astrosat SXT Project Manager UK, commented: "The procurement of key components is now well under way and several critical elements of the camera electronics have been designed and are currently being built in the Space Research Centre at the University of Leicester.

"Over the next few months we hope to receive the main components from India and start to build up the camera for qualification. Once it has successfully completed the testing phase, we shall be building the flight instrument for launch on Astrosat."

Astrosat will carry five instruments to observe exotic objects such as black holes, neutron stars, and active galaxies at a number of different wavelengths simultaneously, from the ultraviolet band to energetic x-rays. While the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research has built the main telescope body and mirror Leicester has provided the camera, supported the project through consultancy and will calibrate the camera at the Space Research Centre.

The University of Leicester Space Research Centre was asked to undertake the SXT camera development because of its track record in spacecraft design, in missions such as Swift and XMM-Newton and the experience gained from its CCD laboratory programmes.

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The delegation from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research currently visiting Leicester includes:

Professor K.P. Singh – Astrosat SXT Project Manager and Head of Department, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research Mr. Atul Kothare – Astrosat Electronics Engineer - Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research Mr. K.H. Navalgund - Astrosat Engineer, Indian Space Research Organisation Satellite Centre, Bangalore

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