Israel to launch world’s first tiny satellites

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY SI­MON GRIVER

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.

PHOTO: FLASH 90

Israel al­ready launches satellites from Tel Aviv

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