§ Mr. Marten
asked the Minister of Technology whether the Atomic Energy Authority has yet completed its preliminary design study of the payload for the large astronomical satellite project of the European Space Research Organisation; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Cousins
Under its contract with the European Space Research Organisation, the Authority has completed its design study in which it makes proposals for satellite-borne instruments to enable ultra-violet and X-ray studies to be made of stars and nebulae. This is a field of astronomy of wide scientific interest in which observations up to the present have been of a rudimentary character.
The Authority's design will be in competition with two other contract studies called for by E.S.R.O., which is expected to take several months to assess them.