Vega flight failure delays Slovenian satellite launch
Trisat, which has been developed at the Maribor Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in cooperation with the Slovenian company Skylabs, was initially planned for the launch on 9 September.
However, after the European space company Arianespace failed to launch Vega into orbit from the space centre in French Guiana on 11 July, the dates of all other planned launches have been delayed.
"They are still conducting analyses. As a rule they won't fly until they determine what went wrong," the head of the Trisat project at the Maribor faculty, Iztok Kramberger, told the STA on Monday.
He said it was premature to say when the launch could take place, but unofficial information suggests the feat could be attempted in late October.
This was the first Vega failure after 14 successful launches. However, Kramberger remains upbeat about the success of the Trisat mission. "We're still counting on the sixteenth flight," he said.
After being assembled and tested in the cleanroom of the Maribor faculty at the beginning of the month, the satellite was transported to Delft in the Netherlands where it was integrated with the launch platform by the Dutch company Innovative Solutions In Space.
The whole thing was then to be taken to Brno, Czech Republic, to be integrated with the rest of the cargo from the the European Space Agency's Small Spacecraft Mission Service, but the Vega flight failure put it all off.
"We're still in Holland," Kramberger said. "We're preparing for potential changes to the plan. If the launch goes ahead in October, no changes to the satellite will be required, which means no extra battery charging. In case of a longer delay, we'll have to do the charging procedure and other urgent business."
Weighing around five kilos, Trisat is capable of taking multispectral images of the Earth in short-wave infrared spectrum. It will be deployed at the altitude of 500 kilometres in a Sun-synchronous orbit.
Some 50 satellites to be taken into the orbit aboard the Vega rocket also include Slovenian satellite Nemo HD, which has been developed by Vesolje-SI, the Slovenian centre of excellence for space sciences and technologies.
Nemo HD weighs around 65 kilos and will be able to produce high-definition panchromatic and multispectral images and video recordings of the Earth.