We feel a certain urgency to get on with it so that we can be confident that we’re not going to have a cosmic disaster here for no good, justifiable reason just because we didn’t get with it. So let’s get with it. That’s the name of the game.”
Rusty Schweickart,Apollo 9 Astronaut, Chairman Emeritus, B612 Foundation
The Sentinel Space Telescope has been designed and will be built by the same expert team from Ball Aerospace that built the Kepler Space Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope, Deep Impact Mission, and Hubble Space Telescope instrumentation.
Through a NASA Space Act Agreement, signed with the B612 Foundation on June 19, 2012, NASA will support the B612 Foundation Sentinel Mission in three critical areas: Use of NASA’s Deep Space Network for Communications, Navigation, and Tracking; Asteroid orbit calculation and threat assessment; NASA experts to support Sentinel Review Team. NASA also plans to appoint an independent science team to analyze the data provided by Sentinel and will conduct a comprehensive hazard analysis, making orbit determinations and threat assessments.
Data Operations Center
Sentinel will complete its survey of the inner solar system during its mission life of 6.5 years, with all systems designed for 10 years of operation. Data collected by the Sentinel Space Telescope will be transmitted first to the Sentinel Operations Center, located at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, Boulder, Colo., then distributed to education, research, scientific institutions and governments via NASA’s Minor Planet Center, Cambridge, Mass. As part of the B612 Foundation-NASA Space Act Agreement of June 2012, NASA JPL (NEO Center), Pasadena, Calif. will conduct a comprehensive hazard analysis, making orbit determinations and threat assessments.
The history of large telescopes is that many of them have been funded privately, so we hope to continue in that tradition. The B612 Foundation plans to raise $450m over 12 years (or about $37m per year) to design, build, test, insure, and launch the Sentinel Space Telescope, build and operate the control center for the duration of the mission, carry out analysis of the observations, and deliver the data to the people of the world. This is substantially lower than the budget would be for a similar mission in the government sector, and comparable in cost to other philanthropic projects, including specialized medical research facilities, museums, performing arts centers, and academic buildings.