Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy Seventh Birthday MOST!

My oh my, how time flies when Canadians have fun with Microsatellites!

Yes, it was seven (yup, 7) years ago today (June 30, 2003) that MSCI (formerly Dynacon) made history by completing and launching "Canada's Humble Space Telescope" known as MOST (Microvariability & Oscillations of Stars) on a Russian Rockot launcher:
The MOST Microsatellite (designed by MSCI) was the first instantiation of MSCI's Multi-Mission Microsatellite Bus (MMMB), which has now been chosen by the Canadian Space Agency as the standard Canadian Microsatellite Bus for future microsatellite missions.  MSCI is currently building the next instantiation of the MMMB, this time in the form of the NEOSSat spacecraft.

To this day, the MOST microsatellite continues to provide valuable science data to astronomers around the world.  Congrats to the MOST team and to MSCI, as the prime contractor of the MOST microsatellite!!

By the way, if you were thinking that 7 years is a long time, you would be right!  MOST's design life requirement was only 1 year (with a goal of 2 years).  The fact that MOST is as strong today as it has ever been is a testament to the true viability of microsatellites, especially in the Canadian market.  The flight history that MOST has accrued over the past 7 years on the various MMMB components is proving to be invaluable to future missions using the MSCI MMMB (like NEOSSat, for example).

Even outside of the space context, 7 years is a tremendous amount of time.  Just think of all the things that can happen in 7 years:

  1. It takes 7 years for an infant to grow into a second grader!
  2. When you are a politician and you cause riots in India, you have to go to jail for 7 years.
  3. The enormous life-cycle of a cicada (2 to 5 years) is STILL not even as long as MOST has been operating on orbit (in case you've forgotten, that's 7 years).
  4. It took a very long 7 years for Canada to be annexed by Great Britain (amongst other territorial changes) in the Seven Years' War.
  5. In 7 years, you could see 93 full moons!  Wow!!!  That's a lot of howling!
Seven years is a very long time and so today, we celebrate MOST.  And, since it is strawberry season in Ontario, why not with a strawberry cake?


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