PARIS, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- The European Space Agency says its Proba-2 satellite has started observing the sun, while also demonstrating technologies for future space missions.
Proba-2, the second in a low-cost series of satellites that are used to validate new technologies while performing scientific projects, was launched Nov. 2.
The ESA team directing the mission announced Tuesday it is extremely happy with the satellite's first three months in orbit.
Constructed for ESA by Belgian firm Verhaert Space, the spacecraft is less than 35 cubic feet in size and carries 17 new technologies that are being demonstrated before being adopted by full-sized spacecraft, the ESA said.
In addition to its experimental payloads, Proba-2 is hosting four new instruments focused on the sun and space weather.
"It is a full space telescope the size of a wide shoe box," said David Berghmans of the Royal Observatory of Belgium, which directs Proba-2's solar monitoring instruments.
Proba-1, launched in 2001, established the principle of using small satellites for technology demonstrations. The ESA said Proba-3 will be a double spacecraft, designed to study the solar corona while testing precision formation-flying techniques.