[Satellite TODAY 07-02-12] Nonprofit organization B612 has contracted Ball Aerospace to build the first privately funded deep space telescope that will be launched into orbit around the sun to map the asteroids flying through the inner solar system, Ball Aerospace announced June 29.
The Sentinel infrared telescope will be designed and built by Ball Aerospace and operated by University of Colorado (CU) students in partnership with Ball engineers working out of a mission control center at CU’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics.
Ball Aerospace said the Sentinel spacecraft would leverage the experience that it gained working on several other projects for NASA. The satellite aims to detect the wavelengths that emanate from asteroids and will orbit the sun once about every eight months.
“Our organization is dedicated towards protecting the long-term future of humanity on this planet,” B612 Chairman and CEO Ed Lu said in a statement. “We feel it’s important that we have a comprehensive map of where all these asteroids are so we’ll know where all these asteroids are going to be at any point out to about 100 years.”