NepaliSat-1, Nepal’s first ever satellite launched into space
Making progress into the space, NepaliSat-1, Nepal’s first ever satellite has been launched into the space. This nano satellite will rotate around the Earth’s orbit, thereby studying Nepal’s topography and the magnetic field of the home planet. NepaliSat-1 was a part of BIRDS-3 satellite launch to the International Space Station (ISS).
BIRDS 3 satellites carried 3 satellites, namely NepaliSat-1, Uguisu (Japan) and Raavana-1 (Sri Lanka), on Thursday 17th April 2019 4:46PM (EDT) by Antares rocket on Cygnus cargo spacecraft from Virgina Air and Space Center of NASA. The cargo resides at the ISS. Only after one month of staying at ISS, NepaliSat-1 will start rotating around Earth for the next 1 year.
This nano-satellite weighs about 1.33 kg and is just around 30 percent larger than a Rubik’s cube. Do not confuse this nano-satellite with the communication satellite that Nepal has been looking for quite a long time now, check updates for that here.
The NepaliSat-1 has been developed at Kyushu Institute of Technology (KIT) in Japan by Abhas Maskey and Hariram Shrestha.
NepaliSat-1 features 8 contributing scientists and engineers working on the project. We read the names on Nepal’s first satellite – Pooja, Kakimoto, Sasak, Makiko, Abhas, hari, Dutani and Tharindu. The 10cm cube also bears Nepal’s country flag and the logo of Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST).
What will NepaliSat-1 do?
Apart from studying and collecting Nepal’s topography, the NepaliSat-1 will also observe Earth’s magnetic field. More than that, being the first ever satellite for Nepal, it will also be a starting point for developing more advanced satellites in the future for Nepal.
NepaliSat-1 is equipped with 5Megapixel camera to capture Nepal’s outline (topography), and a magnetometer to collect magentic field information. The images and data will be sent by the satellite to the ground station at NAST, which is currently under construction.
The other part of the excitement is regarding the cost incurred by NepaliSat-1. The total cost from developing the satellite to launching it and constructing the ground station is said to be NPR 20 million which was provided by the government of Nepal through NAST earlier. The cost was not shared from the Nepali Satellite project from ITU’s orbital slot – the larger satellite supposedly to be Nepal’s first ever communication satellite.
Watch the NASA video on Antares Rocket Launches Robots and Mice to Space Station that carried NepaliSat-1