Quick Facts: Kepler – More Info

The K2 mission used 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 incorporated an innovative way of operating the spacecraft to observe target fields along the ecliptic. (Courtesy NASA Ames)

The K2 mission used 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 incorporated an innovative way of operating the spacecraft to observe target fields along the ecliptic. (Courtesy NASA Ames)

K2 mission

K2 repurposed 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 provided high-precision photometry capability, with short cadence and long cadence modes (1 minute and 30 minute exposures, respectively), and proved to be 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 was 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 allowed for a 105 square degree field of view. Kepler’s photometer had a field of view 33,000 times greater than the Hubble Space Telescope. The photometer featured a focal plane array with more than 95 million pixels. At the time, the focal plane array was the largest camera NASA had ever flown in space.

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Media Contacts

  • Lee Reedy
    Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics
    Kepler Flight Director

    303-492-7657
  • LASP Office of Communications and Outreach: epomail@lasp.colorado.edu