Burstcube: Concept, performance, and status
The first simultaneous detection of a short gamma-ray burst (SGRB) with a gravitational-wave (GW) signal ushered in a new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In order to increase the number of SGRB-GW simultaneous detections, we need full sky coverage in the gamma-ray regime. BurstCube, a CubeSat for Gravitational Wave Counterparts, aims to expand sky coverage in order to detect and localize gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). BurstCube will be comprised of 4 Cesium Iodide scintillators coupled to arrays of Silicon photo-multipliers on a 6U CubeSat bus (a single U corresponds to cubic unit ~10 cm × 10 cm × 10 cm) and will be sensitive to gamma-rays between 50 keV and 1 MeV, the ideal energy range for GRB prompt emission. BurstCube will assist current observatories, such as Swift and Fermi, in the detection of GRBs as well as provide astronomical context to gravitational wave events detected by Advanced LIGO, Advanced Virgo, and KAGRA. BurstCube is currently in its development and testing phase to prepare for launch readiness in the fall of 2021. We present the mission concept, preliminary performance, and status.