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ISTsat-1 is ready to departure for its integration into Ariane 6

by IT on 25-03-2024
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"It is a satellite that was made by and made in Portugal. The entire philosophy behind this satellite can even be transferred to other projects, because it is a project by a very large team, but above all very much aimed at higher education students”. The words of the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Elvira Fortunato, describe ISTSat-1, which stands out as the first university satellite entirely developed and manufactured in Portugal. In a visit made on March 11, to the Taguspark campus of the Instituto Superior Técnico, the minister praised the project, before the satellite's departure to French Guiana, to be part of the inaugural flight of Ariane 6 rocket, scheduled for June or July 2024, according to forecasts from European Space Agency (ESA).

During the visit, it was possible to visit the IST NanosatLab clean room, opened in 2022 by Técnico and Instituto de Telecomunicações (IT) [read also], where ISTsat-1 is located, the IST NanosatLab laboratory and the satellite tracking room, CS5CEP. The project is coordinated by Rui Rocha, professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (DEEC) at Técnico, researcher at IT and one of the founders of IST NanosatLab.

Until reaching this moment, the project has gone through several stages of development, involving many hours of work since it began its journey in 2017 when it was one of the projects chosen by the European Space Agency (ESA). Between students and teachers, it is estimated that around 50 people actively contributed to the project, with more than 20 master's theses being written.

After successive postponements and demanding technical requirements being met, it is estimated that the launch of ISTSat-1 and CubeSats from other teams from the European Fly Your Satellite (FYS!) project will take place in the summer of 2024, riding on the new Ariane 6 launcher, on its inaugural flight.

This project is co-funded by Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), Instituto de Telecomunicações (IT), Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores: Investigação e Desenvolvimento (INESC-ID), and Instituto de Engenharia Mecânica (IDMEC). It also included the participation of researchers from the Institute for Systems and Robotics (ISR Lisbon) and the support of several companies related to the sector.


Photo credits: IST

Translation of the original news from IST: