Israel to launch world’s first tiny satellites
ISRAEL IS preparing to launch a fleet of nanosatellites for use in search and rescue, remote sensing and environmental monitoring operations.
The shoebox-sized satellites, each weighing just eight kilograms, were developed by the country’s space agency and Technion Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.
Equipped with measuring devices, antennas and navigation systems, they will be launched from India later this year.
The mission objective is to prove it is possible to fly small satellites in formation while orbiting the Earth at an altitude of about 600 kilometres.
“If we manage to prove in space that flying in formation is possible, it will be a major boost for the development of small satellites and technologies related to the miniaturisation of electronic components, for efficient space processing and for space propulsion systems,” said Pini Gurfil, director at Technion’s Asher Space Research Institute.
“The technologies developed in the nanosatellites will contribute to a variety of civilian applications and will promote Israel’s aerospace industry.”
Prof Gurfil added: “In years to come we may be able to send formations of dozens and even hundreds of satellites that are even smaller and communicate with each other.”
The technology has been developed entirely in Israel.
The krypton gas-based propulsion system will be the first in the world to power a tiny satellite, while the digital receiver and guidance control system was developed by Israel Aerospace Industries in cooperation with the Technion.
Israel Space Agency director general Avi Blasberger said: “The development and launch costs of such satellites are significantly lower than those of conventional satellites.”
The satellites will also have solar panels to help power them.
Israel already launches satellites from Tel Aviv