The Slovenia Times

Third Slovenian satellite launched in space

Science & Technology

Kourou/Maribor - Trisat-R, a nanosatellite developed at Slovenia's University of Maribor, was launched in space just after 3pm in French Guiana. It was carried into space aboard Vega-C, a new European launch vehicle, as the third Slovenian satellite to date. Stakeholders watched the launch at an event the university organised in Maribor.

Trisat-R's main purpose are ionising radiation measurements in the medium Earth orbit to model the magnetospheric environment and better understand space weather.

The satellite, which weighs just under 5 kilograms, will fly ten times deeper into space than the first Trisat two years ago.

"The new satellite, which we managed to assemble in less than six months, is in many ways a world pioneer," said project head Iztok Kramberger from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Informatics.

"With first nanosatellites we are entering an extremely challenging environment. This is a pioneering mission on which the Slovenians are together with the French and Italians, and this time our satellite is one of the most interesting ones, as it has a whole bunch of innovations."

Kramberger said that the mission proving a success would be an extremely important infrastructure "not only for our university and Slovenian space technology company Skylabs, but also for other associate members such as CERN and the European Space Agency".

The Trisat-R satellite is based on a platform with an extremely high degree of miniaturisation and was designed, engineered and manufactured entirely in Slovenia.

With a weight of 4,965 grammes and a size of 30x10x10 centimetres, it belongs to the class of nanosatellites with a standard size of three units.

Apart from making the various measurements, the satellite is an important demonstration of Slovenian technology and high-tech know-how.

Due to the high orbit of the Earth, Trisat-R will not be returning towards the Earth once its two-year lifespan ends to burn up, but will slowly move away from the Earth and remain in space to be "an eternal Slovenian monument in space", as Kramberger put it.

The university's rector Zdravko Kačič said a third Trisat nanosatellite was already planned.

Trisat has developed from a student project the faculty started more than ten years ago, and represents a good case of transfer of knowledge from university, he said.

Minister of Economic Development and Technology Matjaž Han hailed it as an exemplary case of cooperation between the academia and businesses.

The first two Slovenian satellites - nanosatellite Trisat and microsatelitte Nemo HD - were jointly launched in September 2020. Nemo HD was developed by the Vesolje-SI (Space-SI) Centre of Excellence in Ljubljana.

Trisat-R is expected to leave the launch vehicle and enter orbit two hours after the launch, which was originally scheduled for 1:13pm CET but was rescheduled due to some technical problems. Its first contact with ground control, set up by Skylabs on the outskirts of Maribor, is planned for tonight.


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