BRITE-Constellation currently consists of a group of six nano-satellites which will participate in a common effort to study the variability of bright stars. Three countries are contributing spacecraft: AUSTRIA with BRITE-AUSTRIA (TUG-SAT-1) and UniBRITE satellites.POLAND with BRITE-PL (a.k.a ‘Lem’) and BRITE-PL2 as well as CANADA with BRITE-CA1 and BRITE-CA2.
The picture below shows the scaled (1:1) models of the BRITE-AUSTRIA and UniBRITE satellites in the entrance hall of the Institute for Astronomy of the University Vienna.
The technology was developed under the so-called CANX-3 program at the Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) of the University of Toronto Institute of Aerospace Studies (UTIAS) in Toronto, Canada.
All satellites will be of similar structure, a 20cm cube weighing less than 8 kg. The main difference between pairs of satellites will be the instruments passband. One instrument (CCD photometer, fed by a 3cm aperture dioptic telescope) sensitive to a RED passband and the other in the BLUE.
The second Polish BRITE satellite will be equiped with an RED-sensitive camera. In ways are discussed to fund a third polish satellite with an UV sensitive camera
BRITE-AUSTRIA and UniBRITE have been developed first and will also be launched into orbit first, in Spring 2012. The remaining satellites are expected to be operational in 2013.