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Friday Nov 22, 2013

IST launches Pakistan's first Cubesat satellite

ISLAMABAD: Institute of Space Technology (IST) on Thursday launched Pakistan's first Cubesat satellite, iCUBE-1, onboard Dnepr launch vehicle from Yasny launch base, Russia.

It is welcoming news for Higher Education Institutions, students and researchers of Pakistan that Institute of Space Technology (IST) has etched its name among the foremost universities in the World who have built and launched a Cubesat satellite.

This Cubesat satellite will open up a wide vista of future experiments that can be carried on Cubesat in the domain of imaging, microgravity, biology, nanotechnology, space dynamics, chemistry, space physics and various other fields. Cubesats can also provide a test bed for developing satellite constellations for specific applications. Institute of Space Technology has achieved this astounding success in a short span of ten years, owing to the concerted efforts by its leadership, students and faculty to standout in this field and to create a national center of excellence in space technology.

The Vice Chancellor IST, Engr Imran Rahman congratulated `Team IST' for this great achievement. He specifically thanked the Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, Professor Ahsan Iqbal, Chairman HEC and Chairman of National Space Agency for their continuous encouragement, support and help in achieving this milestone.

Talking to APP, Spokesperson IST Raza Butt said, "iCUBE-1 has been launched in a polar orbit, 600Km above the surface of the Earth, and is designed to take low resolution images of Earth and other space objects." Initially, iCUBE-1 will transmit a Continuous Wave Morse coded beacon with message "iCUBE-1 First CubeSat of Pakistan."

Ham radio operators have a great opportunity to hear those signals on the VHF band. iCUBE-1 has a mass of 1.1 Kg and is thus categorised as a pico-satellite. The satellite has a volume of 10cm cube and it houses several sensors to collect data for scientific purposes. iCUBE-1 is a fully autonomous satellite and is capable of maintaining its health via its on-board computer.

The satellite will send its health data to ground stations and can also be commanded from Satellite Tracking and Control Station at IST. Launch of iCUBE-1 is a significant milestone in the space programme of Pakistan as it will motivate our youth to take more active part in the future satellite development programme of Pakistan, he said.

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