The Hevelius satellite, which was built within the framework of the international BRight Target Explorer Constellation programme (BRITE) , was designed by specialists from the Space Research Centre of Poland's Academy of Sciences (PAN), together with those from the Nicolaus Coperernus Astronomical Centre (also PAN).
Lift-off is planned for 10 December this year, and the China Great Wall Corporation is already ear-marked to manage the take-off, having been chosen in an official tender.
However, the Polish government would have to release a special permit to allow the satellite to be exported to China.
“The final decision should be taken within a few weeks,” commented Dr Piotr Orleanski of BRITE.
He believes that China is the ideal choice, as the Long March LM-4 rocket that will be used has a impeccable track record.
“That rocket has had 30 lift-offs into orbit, and all 30 have finished successfully,” he reflected.
“It's hard to imagine better statistics.”
The satellite is named after 17th century astronomer Johannes Hevelius, who served as mayor of Gdansk (then a part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth).
The BRITE programme would use the satellite to take precise measurements of some of the 256 brightest stars in the sky.
Meanwhile, another Polish satellite that is part of the same programme is also awaiting lift-off.
Lem, which is named after Polish science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem, is due to be sent into space on a Russian rocket Dnieper.
Dr Orleanski, says that there are “serious concerns” that the lift-off will be delayed.
However, the most optimistic scenario would see a November lift-off. (nh)