Proba-2 (Project for On board Autonomy)

Proba-2

Launch: November 2, 2009
Status: Active

On November 2, 2009, Proba-2, a small but powerful satellite focusing on solar observations and space weather, was launched into orbit from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia. This is the second in ESA's series of microsatellites that are being used to validate new spacecraft technologies with its In-orbit Technology Demonstration Programme. Canadian space companies are contributing significant technology to this project.

The Proba-2 satellite was launched on November 2, 2009, on board the Russian Rocket Rockot from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia.

The Proba-2 satellite was launched on November 2, 2009, on board the Russian Rocket Rockot from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia. (Photo : ESA)

Why does the Proba-2 mission matter?

The Proba-2 mission will allow its users to test, in orbit, new technologies that are not mature enough to be initiated on operational missions. Launched as a secondary payload with the SMOS (Soil Moisture Ocean Salinity) satellite, its small size and simplified design has helped keep costs to a minimum. Proba-2 will test new technologies, while providing groundbreaking scientific data with the potential to expand understanding of the processes that affect our climate.

Among its many applications, the two-year mission is dedicated to surveying the behaviour of the sun, including its interaction with the Earth through the magnetosphere and its effects on space weather. This interaction can have important ramifications on communications and electrical infrastructure both on Earth and in orbit. A more thorough understanding of this process could better protect these critical systems and enhance future space exploration and the development of Earth-based technologies.

Payload and Instrument

The microsatellite Proba-2, with a total mass of 130Kg, and only one cubic metre in size, will host 17 technology demonstrations and four significant science experiments that focus on solar observations, plasma measurements and space weather.