The Public Telescope is a German private initiative to develop, launch, and operate a space-based observatory that would be dedicated for the use of the general public, students, as well as professional astronomers. They are seeking private backing as well as public funding. (I cannot find a total estimated cost of the observatory.) User fees would finance the operation of the telescope. The article – astrofactum: The first Public Space Telescope – SpaceOps Journal – July.2014 – describes the overall plan.
They recently obtained an EU grant:
astrofactum GmbH, Institute for Astronomy and Space Technology receives support from the European Union for the development of their project Public Telescope.The Public Telescope project is a private sector initiative to develop and build a commercial space telescope, which can be used by anyone.
The support of the project by the European Union is carried out within the EU funding program Horizon 2020 (SME Instrument 1st funding level), which has set itself the objective of strengthening the competitiveness of innovative European companies in global competition. The European Commission refers to the winners of the funding program as the most innovative European companies with the most innovative ideas.
The first stage of European funding amounting to 50,000 euros will be used to substantiate the commercial use model for the space telescope as part of its feasibility study. Subsequently further funding from the same EU program will be applied for to develop the necessary infrastructure for the satellite and the marketing.
“The support of the project by the European Commission is an important signal to potential new investors. We are delighted with the esteem and the confidence that the European Commission puts into the Public Telescope project. “says Heiko Wilkens, project initiator of Public Telescope.
Project Public Telescope
astrofactum offers with the Public Telescope project for the first time ever access to astronomical observations with a space telescope (80 cm) for the target groups science, amateur astronomy, education as well as to astronomy interested persons. The monitoring capacity can be used via an online platform. Monitoring projects of scientists will be individually supervised by the astrofactum science team.
For science the Space Telescope will close the gap in the ultraviolet range (UV) between the Hubble telescope (operational end in 2020 at the very latest) and future UV missions. The start of the operational service is planned from 2025. Access to the UV spectral region (observation only outside the atmosphere possible) is for astrophysical research in virtually all areas of fundamental importance.
Public Telescope represents a further advantage for international scientific enterprises whose countries are not involved in astronomical space missions and thus are limited in using existing space capabilities for research purposes.
The Space Telescope offers next to science also to amateur astronomy and education (students) an astronomical instrument outside the earth’s atmosphere. Observations of planets, nebulae, galaxies and many other objects can be carried out outside the earth’s atmosphere in an interference-free picture quality without the limitations of air and light pollution, air turbulence or the filter effect.
New for both target groups (amateur astronomy and education) is the first-time access and the related observation possibilities of objects in the UV spectral range.