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The StarBurst Multimessenger Pioneer

Presentation #409.07 in the session Gravitational Wave and Multi-messenger Missions.

Published onJun 29, 2022
The StarBurst Multimessenger Pioneer

The StarBurst Multimessenger Pioneer is a highly sensitive and wide field gamma-ray monitor designed to detect the prompt emission of short gamma-ray bursts (SGRBs), a key electromagnetic (EM) signature of neutron star (NS) mergers. In conjunction with gravitational wave (GW) and follow-up observations across the EM spectrum, StarBurst will seek to understand neutron star mergers through multimessenger observations and use these studies to address four primary science objectives; 1) Constrain the progenitors of SGRBs, 2) Probe the remnants of NS mergers, 3) Constrain the neutron star equation of state, and 4) Probe the structure of relativistic outflows produced in neutron star mergers.

StarBurst is designed to capitalize on the new era of multimessenger astronomy by utilizing the advancements in gamma-ray detectors made over the last decade. With over 500% the effective area of the Fermi Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) and full coverage of the unocculted sky (8 Sr), StarBurst will make highly sensitive observations of EM counterparts to NS mergers and be a key partner to the GW network in discovering NS mergers at a fraction of the cost of currently operating gamma-ray missions. StarBurst is designed as a SmallSat to be deployed to Low Earth orbit (LEO) as a secondary payload using an ESPA-Grande interface for a nominal 1-year mission starting in 2025. Assuming a similar orbit and duty cycle as GBM, StarBurst will observe a median rate of 9.8 joint GW-SGRBs detections per year.

StarBurst relies heavily on the heritage of the GBM, SIRI, BurstCube, and Glowbug instruments, consisting of an array of 12 CsI(TI) scintillator detectors that utilize new, low mass and low voltage, Silicon photomultipliers (SiPM) to cover an energy range from 30 keV to 2 MeV. By re-using the ground analysis pipeline and flight software developed for GBM and BurstCube, along with the detector readout, electrical design, and significant portions of the mechanical design from the Glowbug instrument, StarBurst can be built and launched using mature technologies with significant savings in cost and an equally significant reduction in risk.

The StarBurst mission combines the strengths of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and the Naval Research Lab (NRL) in developing, flying, operating, and managing gamma-ray missions to ensure that StarBurst is delivered on schedule and within cost.


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