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The SpIRIT mission: Multiwavelength detection and follow-up of cosmic explosions with an Australian space telescope

Presentation #305.02 in the session “The Future is Here: Transient High-Energy Astrophysics with Small Satellites”.

Published onApr 01, 2022
The SpIRIT mission: Multiwavelength detection and follow-up of cosmic explosions with an Australian space telescope

Observations of the transient sky to detect cosmic explosions critically rely on orbiting telescopes to cover the large range of wavelengths where atmospheric absorption and/or emission precludes the use of ground facilities. Thanks to dramatic technology improvements (Space 4.0), powerful miniaturised space telescopes operating as distributed-aperture constellations are offering new capabilities for high energy studies of transients to complement ageing existing satellites (Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, Fermi GBM, INTEGRAL). With funding from the Australian Space Agency and in partnership with the Italian Space Agency, the University of Melbourne is building SpIRIT, Australia’s first space telescope, expected to be operational in 2023. SpIRIT is a gamma and X-ray nanosatellite that will operate as part of an international network of nanosatellites (the European High Energy Rapid Modular Ensemble of Satellites — HERMES) for localisation of Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) and Gravitational Wave counterparts. Operations of an efficient X-ray all-sky-monitor with good localisation capability will have a pivotal role in the next decade on multi-messenger astrophysics, contributing to breakthrough discoveries in areas such as micro-second temporal structure of GRBs, their inner engines and jet composition. In this talk, an overview of the mission will be presented, highlighting its science capabilities and expected accuracy in event localisation.


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