ESA’ FlyEye Telescope To Become Operational in 2020 To Study Near-Earth Objects

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The European Space Agency (ESA) will start operating its FlyEye telescope in 2020 from Mount Mufara, in Sicily, Italy. FlyEye would be the first of a future network of telescopes that will make a complete sweep of the vicinity space to identify possible near-Earth objects. An agreement was signed between ESA and the Italian Space Agency (ASI) on the space agency’s use of a site on the before-mentioned mountain for the deployment of FlyEye.

The construction of the ESA’s FlyEye automated telescope has been carried out in Milan, Italy, from where the spacecraft needs to be transferred to Sicily for its deployment. Some ESA sources have confirmed that before its transfer to Sicily, the telescope will make a “stop” in Matera, at the facilities of the Italian Space Agency for a series of tests.

The same sources hope that ESA’s FlyEye will become operational in 2020 and will be able to start studying our planet’s vicinity for the presence of unknown near-Earth asteroids. This telescope will be the first of a network of at least three telescopes.

ESA’s FlyEye will commence studying near-Earth objects in 2020

The idea behind the ESA’s FlyEye project, according to agency’s sources, is to help predict the possible impact of one of these near-Earth objects, find out where it might impact and what would happen, all that to protect the population. Of the 750,000 asteroids recorded in our solar system, some 16,000 are classified as NEO (near-Earth objects), implying that they pass close to the Earth’s orbit.

FlyEye, which will also serve to monitor space debris, is designed to be able to divide the image into 16 sub-images to enlarge its field of view.

In early 2016, ESA awarded the contract to develop the FlyEye telescope to a consortium led by OHB Italia, headquartered in Milan, with the participation of industries from seven countries. Those responsible for signing today’s document were ESA Director-General Jan Worner and Roberto Battiston, President of the Italian Space Agency.