The first satellite created in Moldova was sent into space

The first satellite created in the Republic of Moldova, “TUMnanoSAT”, was launched into space by astronauts from the International Space Station. This was done as part of the international KiboCUBE program. The Technical University of Moldova (TUM), where this satellite was created, was selected to participate in this program by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, IPN reports.

Rector of the Technical University of Moldova, Viorel Bostan, said that the idea of ​​creating a satellite so that Moldova could explore outer space arose back in 2008. Space technology has always been a catalyst, an additional reason for schoolchildren and students to study physics, mathematics, engineering, and this will allow Moldova to use the space technology used in many developed countries to its advantage.

“At the time it seemed like a dream, a distant dream, but in 2009 the first band was formed. The one who dreamed it then and convinced us that we will be able to succeed is the academician Ion Bostan. I was skeptical when he first brought up the subject, but today, almost 14 years later, we see that we have succeeded. The Space Technology Center was established, financed by projects or state programs of the then Academy of Sciences, with a small deduction from state reserve funds. A total of 2 million lei was allocated from the government reserve fund to the Center for Space Technologies. But we managed to build a satellite communication infrastructure, we managed to build an educational infrastructure, we created new laboratories from scratch, formed teams. And in 2018 we first tried to apply for this KiboCUBE program. We didn’t succeed the first time, but we learned another lesson : if it didn’t work the first time, learn on the second try, and everything will work out on the third try, says Bostan.

Teachers, students, students and doctoral students from various faculties at TUM have contributed to the creation of the nanosatellite. The average age in the team is under 30 years. According to the rector of TUM, a team of experts from the Institute of Technology is currently working on the second version of the nanosatellite.

Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilitsa, who was present at the event, emphasized that space exploration brings many benefits to people, businesses, the economy and science. “Currently, the Moldovan government is discussing with international companies the possibility of using satellite data, for example, to determine harvests in agriculture. Or to assess the consequences of natural disasters. This can make government policies much more accurate and benefit the entire economy. Despite all the difficulties, we will to continue investing in science and universities,” said the head of government.

Japanese Ambassador to Moldova Yoshihiro Katayama noted that the first Moldovan satellite has already been launched into space, and the Japanese managed to provide some help in this: the satellite was launched into orbit as part of the KiboCUBE program. “Kibo means ‘hope’ in Japanese. Today, the Republic of Moldova not only launched a satellite, but also opened the door to hope for the future. We supported this wonderful project, for the implementation of which so many talented and hardworking people worked. I am confident that this step forward will be followed by other projects, in the implementation of which the Japanese will lend their shoulder to you,” the ambassador said.

Nanosatellite “TUMnanoSAT” is a cube with 10 cm edge, weighs 1,150 kg. It will perform educational and research tasks. It will make it possible to test the sensors of the attitude determination subsystem of the satellite (magnetometers, microgyroscopes, solar sensors) to optimize the attitude control algorithms, develop an effective communication subsystem “satellite – ground station”, test the solar energy supply system to achieve optimal ways of distributing the accumulated energy, study the performance and behavior of nanosensors in space conditions, check the reliability of electronic components in space radiation conditions.

“TUMnanoSAT” was designed, built and tested from July 2019 to October 2021, within the framework of the state program “Development and launch of a series of nanosatellites with research missions from the International Space Station, their monitoring, subsequent maintenance and promotion of space technologies”. From June to August 2021, the TUMnanoSAT satellite passed all functional tests at the Institute of Space Sciences in Romania in accordance with the requirements of JAXA and NASA. Then, in March, it was flown to Japan, to JAXA headquarters, where it was placed in a J-SSOD launch capsule. In April, he was brought to NASA and loaded aboard the cargo ship Cargo Dragon-2.

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