Dynacon Inc. today announced that a major
milestone in the commissioning of the MOST microsatellite was achieved today,
with the successful detumbling of the satellite. MOST was launched on June 30,
with initial radio contact being made with the satellite a few hours after
launch. Since that time, engineers at the MOST Satellite Control Center have
been gradually turning on and checking out the various items of equipment in
the satellite, a process known as commissioning. All of the primary equipment
on MOST has now been activated, and all items are functioning properly.

MOST was released from the launch vehicle spinning slowly, at about 3
degrees per second, or one complete revolution every 2 minutes. At 7 AM today,
the Satellite Control Centre, located at the Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) of
the University of Toronto’s Institute for Aerospace Studies in north Toronto,
issued the command for MOST’s attitude control subsystem to “detumble” the
satellite. This is the simplest of MOST’s several attitude control operating
modes, using the on-board magnetometer (a 3-axis magnetic compass) and
magnetic torque rods to slow down the satellite’s spin rate. At 8:30 AM,
telemetry was received from the satellite indicating that detumbling had been
successful. MOST is now barely spinning at all, with a residual rotation rate
of about 0.05 degrees per second, or one complete revolution every 2 hours –
half the rotation speed of the minute hand of a clock.

Achievement of this milestone confirms the correct operation of much of
the satellite’s command and control equipment. Work is now underway to proceed
towards the next milestone, activation of the satellite’s active pointing
control mode.

MOST (which stands for “Microvariability & Oscillations of STars”) was
developed for the Canadian Space Agency by a Dynacon-led team of Canadian
engineers. With a size about that of a suitcase, a mass of only 52 kg and a
cost under CDN$10M, this is Canada’s first “microsatellite.” MOST also carries
Canada’s first space telescope, and will make some specialized astronomical
observations beyond the capacity of any other instrument. Collection of
science data, very precise measurements of the brightness of target stars,
will proceed in a few weeks, following completion of satellite commissioning.
A one-year long science mission is planned for MOST.

MOST was funded and managed by the Canadian Space Agency’s Space Science
Branch; additional funding was provided to SFL by the Ontario government
through its Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund. Dynacon, as Prime
Contractor for the mission, led the team that developed the satellite and its
ground stations, and that is now operating MOST for the CSA. The Principal
Investigator, Dr. Jaymie Matthews of the University of British Columbia (UBC),
leads a team of scientists from across Canada, the United States and Austria,
who will use measurements of the brightness of stars from the telescope on
MOST to probe the interior of stars, set a limit on the age of the Universe,
and for the first time, detect the light reflected by mysterious planets
beyond our Solar System.

The MOST project is a co-operative Canadian scientific partnership.
Dynacon developed the design for the overall MOST system, and has managed the
satellite development program. The telescope carried by MOST was developed by
a team at UBC, led by Dr. Matthews. Dynacon and SFL jointly developed the
satellite’s “bus” – which supports the telescope, points it in the correct
direction, and provides it with power, data processing and communications
services – and ground control stations. The satellite was assembled at SFL,
with participation of all principal team members. Other key partners include
the Centre for Research in Earth and Space Technology (CRESTech) of Toronto,
Spectral Applied Research of Concord, Ontario, Routes, Inc. of Ottawa, the
Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT) and the Royal Astronomical Society
of Canada (RASC).

About Dynacon

Dynacon Inc. is a privately held Canadian corporation, applying control
technologies to the space and laboratory automation markets. Dynacon’s
capabilities are program management and systems integration, analysis and
simulation, software and hardware design and fabrication. For the space
market, Dynacon develops and exports attitude and orbit control system
products and subsystems for small satellites, and constructs complete
microsatellites. In the laboratory automation market, Dynacon’s Inoculab
products reduce labor cost, increase quality, replace scarce labor and
eliminate exposure to repetitive strain injury.

About the Canadian Space Agency

Established in 1989 with its headquarters situated in Saint-Hubert,
Quebec, the Canadian Space Agency coordinates all aspects of the Canadian
Space Program. Through its Space Knowledge, Applications and Industry
Development business line, the CSA delivers services involving: Earth and the
Environment; Space Science; Human Presence in Space; Satellite Communications;
Space Technology; Space Qualification Services; Space Awareness and Education.
The Canadian Space Agency is at the forefront of the development and
application of space knowledge for the benefit of Canadians and humanity.

For further informationDr. Kieran A. Carroll, Manager, Space Projects,
Dynacon Inc., Tel: (905) 672-8828 x232, Email: kac@dynacon.ca
Dr. Simon
Grocott, MOST Project Manager, Dynacon Inc., Tel: (905) 672-8828 x223, Email:
Dr. Robert E. Zee, Manager, Space Flight Laboratory,
University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies, Tel: (416) 667-7864,
Email: rzee@utias-sfl.net
Monique Billette, Senior Media Relations
Officer, Canadian Space Agency, Tel: (450) 926-4370, E-mail:
Dr. Jaymie Matthews, Associate Professor,
Physics & Astronomy, University of British Columbia and Mission Scientist,
MOST Space Telescope Project, Tel: (614) 822-2696, Email:
Background information on the MOST project is
available on Dynacon’s web site at http://www.dynacon.ca/most.html, the CSA’s
web site at
the UBC web site at http://www.astro.ubc.ca/MOST/index.html, and the UTIAS web
site at http://www.utias-sfl.net/code/projects/index.html