Update on Estonia's First Satellite18 May 2013
The systems of ESTCube-1, Estonia's first satellite, started functioning well and the satellite's first seven days in space have been more successful than expected, the satellite team said.
The team of ESTCube-1 have started two-way communication with the satellite and the satellite is following orders without hitches. An update of the software on board the satellite has been successfully completed. Radio amateurs from all continents are sending the ESTCube-1 team signals of ESTCube-1 beacons they have picked up. In addition, ESTCube-1 is now officially listed as an object orbiting the Earth by the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) under 2013-021C.
"The mission of the first Estonian satellite has started more successfully than expected, as all the tested systems are working excellently and responding to the commands received from mission control. Stable two-way communication has been established," said ESTCube-1 team member Mihkel Pajusalu, PhD student at the University of Tartu. He said the signal from the radio beacon of ESTCube-1 has been received and forwarded to Tartu by radio amateurs from all continents except Antarctica.
"The best known institution that observes objects moving in space, NORAD, started immediately following ESTCube-1 with a radar and starting on 8 May it continuously publishes actual parameters of the orbit of ESTCube-1 in its database," said the head of the ESTCube-1 ground station, PhD student at the University of Tartu Tonis Eenmäe.
ESTCube-1 is moving in a polar orbit at a speed of 7.5 kilometres per second or 27,095 kilometres per hour, being probably the fastest moving object ever built in Estonia.
The co-ordinator of the project, Mart Noorma, said the satellite's average altitude from the surface of the Earth was 666 kilometres and it took the satellite 98 minutes to complete a circle in Earth's orbit. It circles the Earth slightly under 15 times per 24 hours and has circled the planet 88 times by now. By the projected end of its lifespan in 2036 the satellite is estimated to have passed approximately 5.5 billion kilometres, Noorma said.
The principal communication channel of ESTCube-1 switched on 48 hours after the takeoff of the rocket that took the satellite to the orbit. The first command was sent to the satellite at 10.00 on the morning of 9 May and two-way communication has been enabled since then. The satellite has reported that its electrical system, onboard computer, communications system and command system are in order. The satellite's camera has made the first test photo. Update of the satellite's software by radio has been tested successfully and the software of the electrical alarm system has been successfully replaced with a new version.
Baltic News Service