(ECNS) — China’s first large space station telescope, or Xuntian Space Telescope, will be put into operation around 2024, according to the Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics, CAS.
It is a space-based optical observatory for astronomers to carry out sky surveys, capturing a general map or images of the sky.
The telescope has an aperture of two meters and is equipped with a series of advanced probes. It is a bus-sized facility with a length equal to that of a three-storied building, weighing about a dozen tons.
The telescope will be installed with five instruments including a Survey Camera with an extremely wide vision to conduct sky surveys, according to Zhan Hu, project scientist of the telescope optical facility.
According to Xu Shuyan, a research fellow of the Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics, the initial sample of the telescope is under development, with all subsystems, components and units basically finished and ready for the integration test.
It will fly independently in the same orbit as China’s space station, said experts.
The telescope has a nominal mission lifetime of 10 years, which could be extended through maintenance.