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BurstCube: Mission Overview, Status, and Testing

Presentation #305.06 in the session “The Future is Here: Transient High-Energy Astrophysics with Small Satellites”.

Published onApr 01, 2022
BurstCube: Mission Overview, Status, and Testing

Simultaneous detection of a short gamma-ray burst (SGRB) with a gravitational-wave (GW) signal uniquely enables a wealth of astrophysical measurements of compact binary mergers. BurstCube is a 6U CubeSat (10 x 20 x 30 cm) currently being integrated that aims to detect, localize, and provide rapid alerts of gamma-ray bursts (GRB) in order to expand sky-coverage for the simultaneous detection of SGRBs with GW observations. The spacecraft bus and subsystems are managed and assembled by the NASA GSFC SmallSat Project Office. The BurstCube instrument is optimized to detect and localize gamma-ray with energies between 50 keV and 1 MeV using four 90 mm diameter Thallium doped Cesium Iodide scintillators each coupled to an array of Silicon photo-multipliers (SiPMs). Expanded sky-coverage in the gamma-ray regime is expected with an instrument field of view of greater than 6 steradians and effective area approximately 70% of Fermi-GBM. The capability for BurstCube to deliver rapid alerts of observed GRBs to the astrophysical community within minutes is enabled by a recently developed Vulcan radio with TDRSS down-link capabilities in a CubeSat form-factor. Continuous, non-triggered, data is planned to be delivered to the community within 24 hours. The BurstCube instrument is fully assembled, calibrated, and passed environmental testing for launch and space-based operation. The BurstCube mission is currently preparing for integration of the instrument and spacecraft components for an expected launch date of Q3 2022. This poster provides a overview and status of the BurstCube mission, as well as current integration and test activities.

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