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Israel to launch first space telescope in 2026, it will observe stellar collisions

NASA rocket will carry Ultraviolet Transient Astronomy Satellite into space, from where $90 million vehicle will scan for transient events to research black holes and supernovas

ULTRASAT is “expected to revolutionize scientists’ ability to detect and analyze transient events in the universe, such as neutron star mergers and supernova explosions,” the statement said. Its particularly wide field of view “represents a 100-fold leap in the extra-galactic volume accessible to scientists for the discovery of transient sources, compared to observatories on Earth.”

That will enhance research on astronomical objects such as supernovae, variable and flare stars, active galaxies, the source of gravitational waves, and accretion of stars by massive back holes, the statement added.

An illustration of the ULTRASAT satellite. Credits: Weizmann Institute

Led by the Israel Space Agency and Weizmann Institute of Science, ULTRASAT is planned for launch into geostationary orbit around Earth in early 2026. In addition to providing the launch service, NASA will also participate in the mission’s science program.

“We are proud to join this partnership, an international effort that will help us better understand the mysteries of the hot, transient universe,” said Mark Clampin, director of the Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “ULTRASAT will give the global science community another important capability for making new observations in the nascent field of time domain and multimessenger astrophysics programs.”

"Groundbreaking science calls for cutting-edge technology,” said Uri Oron, director of the Israel Space Agency in the Ministry of Innovation, Science, and Technology. “Our requirements from ULTRASAT, such as a wide field of view, advanced ultraviolet sensitivity, and real-time data control and transfer are at the forefront of technological developments. Israel’s space industry can deliver these capabilities. The Israel Space Agency is proud of the cooperation with NASA as a direct example of the strong partnership between the agencies, and of the Israeli space industry's technological effort involved in the development of the telescope."


CAA Team

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