Space telescope monitoring near-earth asteroids to be launched Monday

NEOSSat, the first dedicated space telescope that will monitor near-earth asteroids, is being launched Monday.

The C$12 million Near-Earth Object Surveillance Satellite, weighing 65 kg payload and about the size of a suitcase, will have half its time assigned to looking for objects that could damage the earth. NEOSSat will be monitoring a group of asteroids that orbit the sun called Atens, objects that elliptically orbit the sun. The recent asteroid that caused extensive damage in Russia may have been an Aten. The other half of NEOSSat's time it will be monitoring space debris, space junk from decommissioned satellites that are still in orbit.

NEOSSat was developed jointly by Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

The NEOSSat will piggyback aboard the Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle along with three other Canadian built satellites. All are being launched simultaneously to save money. Liftoff is scheduled for 7:26 a.m.

Image of NEOSSat from the Royal Military College of Canada