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Kepler space telescope

NASA satellite for exoplanetology (2009–2018) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Kepler space telescope is a defunct space telescope launched by NASA in 2009[5] to discover Earth-sized planets orbiting other stars.[6][7] Named after astronomer Johannes Kepler,[8] the spacecraft was launched into an Earth-trailing heliocentric orbit. The principal investigator was William J. Borucki. After nine and a half years of operation, the telescope's reaction control system fuel was depleted, and NASA announced its retirement on October 30, 2018.[9][10]

Quick facts: Mission type, Operator, COSPAR ID, SATCAT no....
Kepler in orbit
Artist's impression of the Kepler telescope
Mission typeSpace telescope
OperatorNASA / LASP
COSPAR ID2009-011A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.34380
Mission durationPlanned: 3.5 years
Final: 9 years, 7 months, 23 days
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerBall Aerospace & Technologies
Launch mass1,052.4 kg (2,320 lb)[1]
Dry mass1,040.7 kg (2,294 lb)[1]
Payload mass478 kg (1,054 lb)[1]
Dimensions4.7 m × 2.7 m (15.4 ft × 8.9 ft)[1]
Power1100 watts[1]
Start of mission
Launch dateMarch 7, 2009, 03:49:57 (2009-03-07UTC03:49:57) UTC[2]
RocketDelta II (7925-10L)
Launch siteCape Canaveral SLC-17B
ContractorUnited Launch Alliance
Entered serviceMay 12, 2009, 09:01 UTC
End of mission
DeactivatedNovember 15, 2018 (2018-11-15)
Orbital parameters
Reference systemHeliocentric
Semi-major axis1.0133 AU
Perihelion altitude0.97671 AU
Aphelion altitude1.0499 AU
Inclination0.4474 degrees
Period372.57 days
Argument of perihelion294.04 degrees
Mean anomaly311.67 degrees
Mean motion0.96626 deg/day
EpochJanuary 1, 2018 (J2000: 2458119.5)[3]
Main telescope
Diameter0.95 m (3.1 ft)
Collecting area0.708 m2 (7.62 sq ft)[upper-alpha 1]
Wavelengths430–890 nm[3]
BandwidthX band up: 7.8 bit/s – 2 kbit/s[3]
X band down: 10 bit/s – 16 kbit/s[3]
Ka band down: Up to 4.3 Mbit/s[3]

Designed to survey a portion of Earth's region of the Milky Way to discover Earth-size exoplanets in or near habitable zones and estimate how many of the billions of stars in the Milky Way have such planets,[6][11][12] Kepler's sole scientific instrument is a photometer that continually monitored the brightness of approximately 150,000 main sequence stars in a fixed field of view.[13] These data were transmitted to Earth, then analyzed to detect periodic dimming caused by exoplanets that cross in front of their host star. Only planets whose orbits are seen edge-on from Earth could be detected. Kepler observed 530,506 stars and detected 2,778 confirmed planets as of June 16, 2023.[14][15]

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