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What is ULTRASAT? Blog Image


NASA will launch Israel’s first space telescope mission, the Ultraviolet Transient Astronomy Satellite (ULTRASAT) in early 2026.


  • ULTRASAT is an ultraviolet observatory with a large field of view, that will investigate the secrets of short-duration events in the universe, such as supernova explosions and mergers of neutron stars.
  • It is planned to launch into a geostationary orbit around Earth
  • NASA will provide the launch opportunity, Flight Payload Adapter, and other launch-related responsibilities for ULTRASAT.

What is a geostationary orbit?

  • Satellites in geostationary orbit (GEO) circle Earth above the equator from west to east following Earth’s rotation – taking 23 hours 56 minutes and 4 seconds – by travelling at the same rate as Earth.
  • This makes satellites in GEO appear to be ‘stationary’ over a fixed position.
  • To perfectly match Earth’s rotation, the speed of GEO satellites should be about 3 km per second at an altitude of 35 786 km. This is much farther from Earth’s surface compared to many satellites.
  • This particular orbit is used for meteorological and communications satellites.
  • The geostationary orbit is a special case of the geosynchronous orbit, which is any orbit with a period equal to Earth’s rotation period. 


Q1) What is the low Earth orbit?

A low Earth orbit (LEO) is, as the name suggests, an orbit that is relatively close to Earth’s surface. It is normally at an altitude of less than 1000 km but could be as low as 160 km above Earth.

Source: NASA to Launch Israel’s First Space Telescope