Aalto-2 satellite's deployment into orbit delayed
The student-built Aalto-2 satellite will not be deployed into orbit on 23 May, as the deployment of it and the other QB50 Mission nanosatellites from the International Space Station will have to be postponed due to an extra space walk. During the space walk, a communication device will be switched outside the station.
A change in plans is more of a rule than an exception during space missions, which is something that both Aalto-2 and Aalto-1 have had to experience many times before.
Unless any other problems arise, the Aalto-2 satellite will be able to begin its mission very soon, perhaps even before the end of the week.
‘Hopefully the space walk will be a success and the problem at the space station is fixed. Unless any other problems arise, the Aalto-2 satellite will be able to begin its mission very soon, perhaps even before the end of the week. We’re also monitoring the other satellites of the QB50 project daily,’ said Professor Jaan Praks, who leads Aalto’s satellite projects.
The aim of the QB50 Mission is to produce the first-ever comprehensive model of the features of the thermosphere, the layer between the Earth's atmosphere and space. Dozens of nanosatellites will participate in the mission. Aalto-2, which only weighs two kilogrammes, is carrying the multi-Needle Langmuir Probe (mNLP) payload developed at the University of Oslo for the measurement of the characteristics of plasma.
The first signal sent by Aalto-2 will probably be heard via an earth station located somewhere else than Otaniemi at Aalto University. The satellite’s orbit is close to the equator, so it can only be contacted occasionally from Otaniemi.
‘Several earth stations from around the world are involved in the mission, and the information sent by the satellites will be shared by all the stations. The first signal may arrive within a few days of deployment,’ explains Petri Niemelä, who is responsible for Aalto University's earth station.
More information on satellite projects at Aalto (spacecraft.aalto.fi)
More information on the launch of the Aalto-1 satellite (aalto1.fi) What is Aalto-2 and what does it do? (youtube.com)
Video: How are CubeSats – like Aalto-2 – deployed from the International Space Station? (youtube.com)
Photos: Aalto University / QB50
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QB50 project has received funding from TEKES and the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development under grant agreement no . This publication reflects the views only of the authors, and the European Union cannot be held responsible for any use which maybe made of the information contained therein.