A miniature satellite only 10 centimeters long and weighing a few hundred grams
built by Israeli high school students will be launched into space in
The Science, Technology and Space Ministry announced this as part
of its preparations for Israel Space Week, which will begin on January
Called a pico satellite, the device was planned and constructed
entirely by teens at the Herzliya Science High School.
The ministry said
there have been such advanced technological developments recently that “any
person” can build his own tiny satellite (though he needs help in getting it
sent into space). Parts can easily be purchased via the Internet.
is now joining this trend, the ministry said on Tuesday.
satellite, called Duchifat (hoopoe, a bird), was built with help from the Israel
Space Agency, which operates under the ministry’s auspices.
pupils aged 16 and 17 at the Herzliya high school built the satellite, and it is
now undergoing tests for sturdiness at Israel Aircraft Industry
The satellite is a cube of 10 centimeters, and thus is much
cheaper to dispatch than a conventional satellite, which weighs hundreds of
kilos and costs millions of dollars to launch. Its operating system,
communications system, power and thermal insulation are crammed
The satellite will help travelers who get lost to find their way
even if there is no cellular phone reception. Electrical signals representing
calls for help can be send via the satellite, which will broadcast to a center
on Earth and send the message forward.
Since 70 percent of the Earth is
covered with oceans, there are huge areas without cellular reception, the space
The tiny satellite will revolve at a height of 600 km. and
remain in space for two years.
It will orbit the Earth every 90 minutes
and cover the whole globe in a few hours. There is no other such satellite
It will be launched from Russia with another 40 pico satellites
as part of an international project.
The US National Aeronautics and
Space Administration recently launched a pico satellite called GeneSat
containing bacteria to see how the pathogens react to conditions of radiation
and pressure. Pictures of the bacteria were sent back to Earth, and the effects were analyzed in real time.