Estonia’s student cubesat satellite is ready for the next Vega launch
March 20, 2013 – Vega Flight VV02
The tiny spacecraft passenger for Vega’s upcoming Flight VV02 is getting the same “white glove” treatment as the launch’s two larger payloads, with Estonia’s ESTCube-1 student satellite now mission-ready at the Spaceport in French Guiana.
In the Spaceport’s S1B clean room, ESTCube-1 has been integrated in its box-type dispenser – readying the cubesat for integration in the Vega launcher’s payload “stack,” along with the Proba-V and VNREDSat-1 passengers.
ESTCube-1 is the first Estonian satellite, built by a collaboration of students from Tartu University, Estonian Aviation Academy, Tallinn University of Technology and University of Life Sciences, and was developed in conjunction with the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the German Space Center (DLR).
This spacecraft is 1U-category cubesat – sized at 10x10x10 cm. – which is the smallest of the nanosatellite types typically used for educational purposes and technology-proving applications. Weighing 1.33 kg., its purpose is to test electric solar wind sail technologies, as well as help establish an Estonian infrastructure for future space projects.
Vega Flight VV02 is the second launch for Arianespace’s lightweight vehicle and is being conducted in conjunction with the European Space Agency’s VERTA (Vega Research and Technology Accompaniment) program.
The VNREDSat-1 primary passenger for this mission will have a mass of approximately 120 kg. at liftoff, and is to support the Vietnamese government’s initiative to create an infrastructure enabling better studies of climate change effects, improving predictions for natural disasters and optimizing the country’s natural resource management. VNREDSat-1 was built by Astrium on behalf of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST).
As the Vega flight’s other primary passenger, Proba-V is to monitor global vegetation growth, equipped with a newer version of the Vegetation imaging instrument that previously was flown on the Spot series of Earth observation satellites – which also were orbited by Arianespace. The 160-kg. Proba-V spacecraft was produced by prime contractor QinetiQ Space Belgium for the European Space Agency.