Launch of the First Orbital Telescope for the detection of ultra-high energy cosmic rays induced air showers

Image: Lomonosov Moscow State University

On Thursday, April 28, the TUS telescope aboard the Lomonosov satellite was successfully launched from the Vostochny spaceport. Lomonosov along with two other satellites, Aist-2D and SamSat-218, were carried into orbit by an unmanned Soyuz-2.1A rocket, the first rocket to fly from the new Russian spaceport.

The TUS (Tracking Ultraviolet Set-Up) orbital telescope aboard the Lomonosov satellite will detect Extensive Air Showers (EAS) produced by Ultra-High Energy Cosmic Rays (UHECR) and contribute to the study of the energy spectrum and arrival distribution of the cosmic rays with energies above 1020 eV.

“It is one more important step towards UHECR measurements from space!” said Pavel Klimov from the Skobeltsyn Institute of Nuclear Physics, Moscow State University, one of the lead scientists in the collaboration.

In 2013, a team of scientists from the Institute of Space Science lead by Dr. Maria Haiduc joined the TUS collaboration and signed a protocol with the Skobeltsyn Institute for Nuclear Physics to this effect. The involvement of the ISS team in the TUS collaboration is concerned with the development, together with a team form the Joint Institute of Nuclear Physics lead by Dr. Leonid Grigorievich Tkatchev, of a ground-based high-power LED UV light system to be used for the orbital calibration of the TUS telescope.

The TUS telescope can be regarded as a pathfinder for the future space-based UHECR detectors (e.g. KLYPVE, JEM-EUSO) and will gather preliminary data that will be extremely useful for the fine-tuning of the operational parameters of these future missions.

This post is also available in Romanian here.

More details on the event along with a movie of the launch can be found at:

Lomonosov Satellite

This post is also available in: Romanian