Space-science-as-a-service firm Blue Skies Space has released renderings of its Twinkle spacecraft, an independent space science satellite.
Through the Twinkle mission, Blue Skies Space is replicating the telecoms operator model, with satellite manufacturers contracted to build the satellite to unique specifications.
The Twinkle satellite, the first in a series from UK-headquartered Blue Skies Space, aims to revolutionise exoplanet and solar system science by accelerating the provision of scientific data to its members. Once launched into low-earth orbit, it will deliver visible and infrared spectroscopy of thousands of targets, enabling Twinkle members to produce transformative research on exoplanet atmospheres, solar system objects, stars, and stellar discs. The structured science surveys will operate at a large scale, providing more than 70,000 hours of data observations from thousands of objects.
Blue Skies Space describes its space-science-as-a-service commercial model as increasing the availability of data for a broader range of space scientists, from early career astronomers to international experts. According to the company, scientists that sign up for Twinkle membership will directly shape the mission’s science agenda. No proposal or selection process is required to join.
Chief executive officer Dr Marcell Tessenyi explained: “Blue Skies Space’s satellites are designed to be efficiently constructed to ensure we can make high-quality data available to scientists for their research. By working closely with the participating scientists, we are able to shape the access model and data products in the most beneficial way to the community.”
Fourteen international institutions from Australia, Canada, China, Europe, Japan, USA and the UK are already actively working on the mission’s science programme.
“Our ‘space-science-as-a-service’ option provides unimpeded access to brand new exoplanet and solar system data for research institutions around the world. Twinkle is open to scientists of any background and career stage and aims to enhance and support the career paths of many astronomers. We are genuinely excited by the possibilities this offering is bringing to the international scientific community,” added Tessenyi.
The seven-year Twinkle space mission, launching in 2024, will provide scientists with greater insights into the composition of exoplanet atmospheres, solar system objects, stars and stellar discs. The satellite is based on a high-heritage Airbus Defence and Space platform and will carry a 0.45m telescope with a visible to infrared spectrometer providing simultaneous wavelength coverage (0.5–4.5μm). Twinkle’s science programme is delivered through a growing international collaboration of scientists who will gain access to the massive data set from the observation of thousands of objects during the mission’s lifetime.