Bhutan’s Satellite Deployed From ISS Along With Limited Edition Stamps Launched To Laud Event

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Live-streamed on YouTube, representatives from various countries and institutes gathered at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in Tokyo, Japan.

The BIRDS project is a cross-border interdisciplinary satellite project for non-space faring countries supported by Japan. (Source: msat-uk.org)

 

By Phurpa Lhamo | Kuensel

Bhutan’s first satellite CubeSat Bhutan-1 was deployed from International Space Station (ISS) into the low earth orbit on 10 Aug.

This comes after the release of Bhutan-1 along with CubeSats from the Philippines and Malaysia into ISS on June 29 this year.

Officials of the Information and Communications Ministry gathered once again at the Ministry’s conference hall yesterday.

Live-streamed on YouTube, representatives from various countries and institutes gathered at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in Tokyo, Japan.

 

Source: Kuensel Online

 

Following the ‘go’ approval from the representatives of Bhutan, Malaysia and the Philippines, ISS released the satellites at 3:45pm yesterday.

This means that Bhutan-1 would be now operational and can be tracked from the ground station at the information and communications ministry.

Stamps in honour of the event launched by the MoIC and Bhutan Postal Corporation Limited

Marking the historic event, jointly produced by the MoIC and Bhutan Postal Corporation Limited, a new 3D lenticulaire stamp was also launched. The stamp has four apartments with the pictures of Bhutan-1 satellite, which when viewed from a slightly different angle, one can see pictures of the four dzongs of Bhutan.

Sold at Nu 1,000 a piece, the Bhutan Postal Corporation Limited has a limited edition of 4,500 copies of the stamps.

CubeSat Bhutan-1 was developed by Bhutanese engineers at the Kyushu Institute of Technology, Japan as part of their Master’s Degree under the BIRDS-2 Project.

More about the BIRDS project

The BIRDS project is a cross-border interdisciplinary satellite project for non-space faring countries supported by Japan.

Work to develop the three 1U (10*10*10 cm) CubeSat began in November 2016.

MoIC’s officiating secretary, Karma Wangchuk said that through His Majesty The King’s vision to raise awareness and interest in space science and technology, Bhutan in 2016 sent engineers to the Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan to study space engineering and to participate in the BIRDS-2 Project.

He added that His Majesty The King also presented five numbers of KENWOOD handheld radio to the College of Science and Technology in Rinchending, Jigme Namgyel Engineering College in Deothang, Sherubtse College in Kanglung, Gyalpozhing College of Information Technology in Gyalpozhing and the Royal Thimphu College.

The satellite will pass over Bhutan five to six times a day for about three to four minutes.

Function of the Bhutan-1 satellite

Bhutan-1 satellite was sent with five major experimental missions. The satellite that has two cameras attached to it will take pictures and video of the country.

Chief of Telecom and Space Division, Sonam Phuntsho said that the satellite would relay data of the glaciers and lakes or water level through sensors to the ground station.

“Through the satellite, people can also engage in sending messages to the satellite through their radio handsets. Once the satellite receives text messages, it will broadcast and other amateur radio users will be able to hear it.”

The radio handsets presented to the five colleges can be used for this purpose. The data collected with the satellite will be shared with various institutions and colleges for research purposes in the country.

The satellites can also measure the level of radiation in space. As the satellite used consumer GPS product in the three CubeSats, Sonam Phuntsho said that researchers could also study and check out how it functions.

“Satellite specialised GPS chips are expensive. The consumer GPS product is much cheaper. So, they can study the type of changes that needs to be made in future.”

He added that the development of the satellite also helped build the capacity of the Bhutanese engineers.

At JAXA, Japan, the ambassador of Bhutan to Thailand, Tshewang C Dorji thanked the engineers who developed the satellite, Kyushu Institute of Technology and JAXA for their efforts in developing the country’s first satellite.

 

This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for the Bhutan Times.

 


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