ULTRASAT is a scientific mini-satellite carrying a telescope with an unprecedentedly large field of view (210 squared degrees) observing in the ultraviolet (220-280nm,UV). Its launch to geostationary orbit (GEO) is planned for 2023. ULTRASAT will revolutionize our understanding of the hot transient universe: the extra-Galactic volume, that will be accessible to ULTRASAT for the discovery of transient sources, is 300 times larger than that of the most sensitive UV satellite to date, GALEX, and comparable to that of the largest ground-based optical transient survey planned to begin operation in 2022, LSST.
ULTRASAT will have a broad science impact across the fields of gravitational wave sources, supernovae, variable and flare stars, active galactic nuclei, tidal disruption events, compact objects, and galaxies. It will open a new wave band (UV) and cadence access (minutes to months), with a vast space for serendipitous discovery. All ULTRASAT data will be transmitted to the ground in real time, and transient alerts will be distributed to the community in <20 min, driving a vigorous ground-based follow-up of static, variable and transient ULTRASAT sources.
The ULTRASAT spacecraft will be constructed by the Israeli Aerospace Industry (IAI), and the telescope will be constructed by Elbit/Elop. ULTRASAT is jointly funded and managed by the Israel Space Agency (ISA) and the Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS), under the scientific leadership of the WIS, and with a significant contribution of the DESY center of the Helmholtz association.
Our proposed mission is ground breaking both in terms of the science and in terms of the implementation. If successful, we will demonstrate that breakthrough science can be achieved by small satellites at an affordable cost, $100M including launch to GEO, leading the way to future similar missions. Beyond providing groundbreaking science, the high scientific profile of the mission will strengthen the world standing of the Israeli space industry as well as the international standing of Israel via the creation of collaborations with leading industries and agencies. It will also have a major educational impact drawing young talented Israeli people to science and technology.
For more information, see ULTRASAT's web page.