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Mission Photos:

BLITS retroreflector
BLITS (Courtesy of IPIE)

Mission Objectives:

The BLITS (Ball Lens In The Space) retroreflector satellite has been developed and manufactured by the FSUE IPIE in accordance with the Federal Space Program of Russia and Agreement between the Federal Space Agency of Russia and International Laser Ranging Service from January 10, 2006. The purpose of the mission is experimental verification of the spherical glass retroreflector satellite concept as well as obtaining SLR data for solution of scientific problems in geophysics, geodynamics, and relativity by millimeter and submillimeter accuracy SLR measurements. The "target error" (uncertainty of reflection center relative to the CoM position) is less than 0.1mm, and the Earth magnetic field does not affect the satellite orbit and spin parameters. SLR is the only source of POD information.

The BLITS nanosatellite consists of two outer hemispheres made of a low-refraction-index glass (ЛК6 type) and an inner ball lens made of a high-refraction-index glass (ТФ105 type). The ball lens radius is 53.52 mm, the total radius of the spherical retroreflector is 85.16 mm. The hemispheres are glued over the ball lens; the external surface of one hemisphere is covered with an aluminum coating protected by a varnish layer. All spherical surfaces are concentric. The satellite total mass is 7.53 kg. A small spherical retroreflector of the same type (6cm in diameter) was fastened to the Meteor-3M spacecraft and tested during its space flight (2001-2006).

Mission Parameters:
Sponsor: IPIE
Expected Life: 5 years
Primary Applications: Technology Experiments
Primary SLR Applications: POD
COSPAR ID: 0904907
SIC Code: 5558
Satellite Catalog (NORAD) Number: 35871
Launch Date: September 17, 2009
NP Bin Size: 30 seconds
RRA Dimensions: 85.16 mm radius
RRA Shape: Spherical
Reflectors: 1 spherical retroreflector
Altitude: 832 km
Inclination: 98.77 degrees
Orbit: Circular orbit, sun-synchronous
Orbital Period: 101.3 min
Mass: 7.53 kg

Additional Information: