CubeSat re­leased in or­bit, prov­ing fea­si­bil­ity

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA -

China’s Tianzhou 1 cargo space­craft suc­cess­fully re­leased a cube satel­lite while in or­bit on Tues­day, and sig­nals from the satel­lite — known as a CubeSat — were im­me­di­ately re­ceived by ground tech­ni­cians, ac­cord­ing to China Aero­space Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy Corp.

The CubeSat was car­ried into or­bit by Tianzhou 1, which was launched from the Wen­chang Space Launch Cen­ter in South China’s Hainan province on April 20.

Tues­day’s re­lease was the first time China has ac­ti­vated a cube satel­lite — typ­i­cally mea­sur­ing 10 cen­time­ters on each side of a cube — from an or­bit­ing space­craft.

Tra­di­tion­ally, a CubeSat is re­leased late in the launch phase.

The test re­lease has laid a tech­ni­cal foun­da­tion for China’s fu­ture space sta­tion to launch more mi­crosatel­lites and nanosatel­lites and to pro­vide other in-or­bit ser­vices.

Like a Ru­bik’s cube, a CubeSat is com­posed of smaller cu­bic units. De­pend­ing on its pur­pose, a CubeSat may con­tain two, three or more such units.

Com­pared with other satel­lites, CubeSats are smaller, lighter and more eco­nom­i­cal in de­vel­op­ment and pro­duc­tion.

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