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Mission type Solar observatory
technology demonstrator
Operator ESA
Website link
Mission duration 2 years (nominal)
Spacecraft properties
Manufacturer OHB Sweden/QinetiQ
Launch mass CSC: 339 kilograms (747 lb)
OSC: 211 kilograms (465 lb)
Dry mass CSC: 327 kilograms (721 lb)
OSC: 190 kilograms (420 lb)
Dimensions CSC: 1.1 by 1.8 by 1.7 metres (3.6 ft × 5.9 ft × 5.6 ft)
OSC: 0.9 by 1.4 metres (3.0 ft × 4.6 ft)
Start of mission
Launch date 2018
Rocket Vega
Launch site Kourou ELV
Contractor Arianespace
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Highly-elliptical Earth Orbit
Semi-major axis 36,943 kilometres (22,955 mi)
Eccentricity 0.8111
Perigee 600 kilometres (370 mi)
Apogee 60,530 kilometres (37,610 mi)
Inclination 59 degrees
Period 1178 minutes
RAAN 84 degrees
Argument of perigee 188 degrees
Epoch planned
Main interferometer
Type Fabry–Pérot interferometer
Diameter 50 millimetres (2.0 in)
Focal length 1.15 metres (3.8 ft)
Wavelengths visible light

← Proba-V

PROBA-3 is the third satellite mission in the European Space Agency's series of PROBA low-cost satellites that are being used to validate new spacecraft technologies while also carrying scientific instruments. Currently PROBA-3 is in its preparatory study phase.[1] PROBA-3 will show the technology that is required for formation flying of two or more spacecraft.

PROBA-3 will be composed of two independent, three-axis stabilized spacecraft flying close to one another with the ability to accurately control the attitude and separation of the two craft. The spacecraft pair will fly a highly elliptical orbit divided between periods of accurate formation flying, when payload operations will be possible, and periods of free flight. The length of the formation control period will be the result of a trade-off involving the amount of fuel needed to maintain the orbits when in formation.[2]

The primary mission of PROBA-3 is solar coronagraphy by using the telescope on the larger of the two satellites to view the Sun's corona while the other spacecraft is maneuvered to accurately occult the disc of the Sun.[3]

Currently, PROBA-3 is scheduled to be launched in 2018.[4][5] The mission is planned to have a lifetime of around two years.

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