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Mauritius’ first nanosatellite heads to space in May

Mauritius , 01 Mar 2021

In May this year Mauritian Infrared Satellite (MIR-SAT1), the island nation’s first nanosatellite, will head to the International Space Station (ISS) on a rocket to be launched by the Japanese Space Exploration Agency (JAXA).

The Minister of Information Technology, Communication and Innovation in the government of Mauritius Deepak Balgobin said the satellite has passed a third safety review by JAXA and is now at the Tsukuba Space Centre in Japan.

A statement by the government reads: “The Phase 03 Safety Review verifies all the test results of the satellite, mechanical and electrical interfaces, JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD) requirements, hazards and any other requirements as set by JAXA and the ISS.”

A longwave infrared thermal camera (main payload) will source and collect images of Mauritius and surrounding areas.

The overall mission incorporates a secondary payload to demonstrate communications capabilities through an S-band transmission system. This system will broadcast an update to Mauritius using an on-board communication subsystem.

MIR-SAT1 will be deployed from the ISS through Kibo, the Japanese experimental deployment module.

MIR-SAT1’s journey began in 2018 when Mauritius won the third round of the KiboCube Program run by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and JAXA.

Through the UNOOSA/JAXA KiboCube Program developing countries are given an opportunity to develop their space technology capacity.

Previous winners include Kenya and Guatemala.

The MIR-SAT1 was designed by Mauritian engineers and was built in Scotland by AAC Clyde Space. Through the project, engineering staff of the Mauritius Research Council (MRC) are being trained on the assembly, integration and test of the spacecraft.

“It is expected that MIR-SAT1 will be launched from the JAXA Tsukuba Space Centre to the ISS and then be put into orbit. The first satellite images will be available one month after its launch,” Balgobin added.

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