(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Duchifat-2, a small satellite built at the science center in Herzliya with the active participation of high-school students, will be launched on the morning March 20 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, toward the international space center along with 28 other small satellites from around the world. The aim of the constellation of satellites will be to map the thermosphere, which will help in the transfer of GPS signals.
Duchifat-2 is the only satellite built with the participation of students that will be launched into space. It will be launched with the Atlas-5 satellite, from where it will be transferred to the Japanese space station. After six weeks, it will be launched into space using a special robotic arm that will be operated by astronauts.
“Duchifat-2 is not only an educational project that gives students experience in the space industry, it is an international research initiative,” Science, Technology and Space Minister Ofir Akunis said. “The launching of the satellite is another achievement for space research.”
Duchifat-2 weighs only 1.8 kg. and its dimensions are 10 cm. by 22 cm. by 722 cm.
It’s predecessor, Duchifat-1, was launched into space in June 2014 and is still operating. This is a much longer period than was originally expected.
Duchifat-2 will be launched as part of the EU’s QB50 enterprise together with other satellites built by students in Belgium, Turkey, South Africa, Australia, Germany, France and South Korea.
Of the 50 teams around the world that began working on the satellite project, only 28 (the Israeli team among them) passed NASA’s strict requirements.
More than 80 students from Ofakim, Yeruham, Ofra, Hura and Herzliya worked for over two years to develop the Duchifat-2. The students worked in 10 teams and were allowed to use a clean room, an electronics laboratory and a ground station for communicating with satellites.
Each team was responsible for a different area, such as checking the technical specifications, programming the operating system, decoding satellite data, control and systems engineering.
The students were advised by university engineering professors and engineers from the IAI’s MBT Space Division. The satellite successfully passed the tests that were carried out in the clean room at the IAI, such as mock space atmosphere, testing of environmental conditions such as tremors, a vacuum chamber and extreme temperatures.
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Translated by Hannah Hochner.