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Quick Facts: Kepler – More Info

The K2 mission will make use of the Kepler spacecraft and its assets to expand upon Kepler's groundbreaking discoveries in the fields of exoplanets and astrophysics through new and exciting observations. K2 will use an innovative way of operating the spacecraft to observe target fields along the ecliptic. (Courtesy NASA Ames)

The K2 mission will make use of the Kepler spacecraft and its assets to expand upon Kepler’s groundbreaking discoveries in the fields of exoplanets and astrophysics through new and exciting observations. K2 will use an innovative way of operating the spacecraft to observe target fields along the ecliptic. (Courtesy NASA Ames)

K2 mission

K2 repurposes the space-borne hardware and ground-based operations of the Kepler mission for a pointed survey of pre-determined locations along the ecliptic plane. The single, visible-wavelength instrument onboard K2 provides high-precision photometry capability, with short cadence and long cadence modes (1 minute and 30 minute exposures, respectively), and a powerful tool for variability analyses of planetary, stellar, extragalactic and solar system sources.

Additional Quick Facts

Delta II Fuel: Nine strap-on solid rocket motors. The first stage uses kerosene and liquid oxygen. The second stage uses hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide.
Orbital Period: 371 days
Spacecraft Dimensions: 2.7 meters (9ft) diameter, 4.7 meters (15.3 ft) high
Weight: 1052.4 kg (2,320.1 lbs) at launch
Weight Breakdown:

  • Spacecraft- 562.7 kg (1240.5 lbs)
  • Photometer- 478 kg (1043.9 lbs)
  • Hydrazine Propellant- 11.7 kg (25.8 lbs)

Photometer: The sole Kepler instrument is a photometer—a Schmidt-type telescope consisting of a .95-meter (37-inch) aperture and a 1.4-meter (55-inch) primary mirror. This configuration allows for a 105 square degree field of view. Kepler’s photometer has a field of view 33,000 times greater than the Hubble Space Telescope. The photometer features a focal plane array with more than 95 million pixels. The focal plane array is the largest camera NASA has ever flown in space.

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  • Bill Possel
    Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics

    303-492-6867
  • Jim Scott
    University of Colorado

    (303) 492-3114
  • Roz Brown
    Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.
    Boulder, Colo.
    Spacecraft

    (303) 533-6059