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
- 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.
- For more information please visit: kepler.nasa.gov or keplerscience.arc.nasa.gov/K2
- NASA’s Kepler multimedia site
- “One year ago, Boulder-built Kepler was launched to look for Earth-like planets” by Laura Snider
- “Kepler Spacecraft to Hunt Earth-like Worlds” by Leonard David (also on MSNBC)
- CU-Boulder Students to be at Controls for NASA’s March Planet-Hunting Mission
- Lee Reedy
Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics
Kepler Flight Director
- LASP Office of Communications and Outreach: firstname.lastname@example.org