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Concept art shows a satellite dish with a telescope inside it in space with starts and planets in the background.
LiteBIRD concept art

Telescope Details



Second Lagrange point, a location in space, 1.5 million kilometers from Earth, where spacecraft can hover


LiteBIRD is a compact, lightweight satellite that will measure the “fingertips” of primordial gravitational waves emitted during the cosmic inflation era. The experiment will have three optical telescopes, each covering a portion of the mission's frequency range.

NIST’s role:

Make two telescope cameras and electronics to collect sensor data. LiteBIRD’s cameras will have a total of more than 3,000 sensors. 

Significant discoveries:

The satellite is scheduled to launch by a rocket in 2029.

Other interesting facts:

LiteBIRD will look for specific curl or spiral patterns in the cosmic microwave background (CMB), tiny signatures requiring a survey of the entire sky. CMB polarization measurements may provide for the first time a quantum probe of gravity.


An international collaboration of institutions in Japan, the United States, Canada and Europe, led by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)


Metallic rectangle is surrounded by green and black vertical stripes of varying widths.
NIST sensor for LiteBIRD
Credit: NIST
Created October 12, 2021, Updated June 3, 2022