Tel Aviv University students to send nanosatellite into space
The small satellite, which was designed and constructed in Israel, will measure cosmic radiation around the Earth
The TAU-SAT1 satellite is of the CubeSat variety, which is no bigger than a shoebox. It was the first satellite designed by the school’s new Nanosatellite Center, and involved collaboration between various departments, including the Faculties of Engineering and Exact Sciences along with the Porter School of the Environment and Earth Sciences. TAU-SAT1 has a long mission ahead; first it will undergo pre-flight testing at the Japanese Space Agency, then it will be shipped to the United States where it will “hitch” a ride on a NASA and Northrop Grumman spacecraft filled with supplies that are bound for the International Space Station (ISS) in early 2021. When it reaches the ISS, TAU-SAT1 will be deployed into a low-earth orbit, some 400 km (250 miles) above our planet.
Dr. Ofer Amrani, head of the miniature satellite lab, lauded the satellite, explaining that it will be used to relay information for other radio communications worldwide, and is expected to remain in orbit for several months. “Because it has no engine, its trajectory will fade over time as the result of atmospheric drag – it will burn up in the atmosphere and come back to us as stardust,” he said.The school hopes that this launch will pave the way for others in academia to join the new space revolution, and send other objects into space without necessarily being part of a professional space agency. Researchers are hoping that this momentum speeds up, and creates more opportunities for engineers to assemble smaller satellites at a fraction of the cost.