Students in the radio astronomy program at Lima’s Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú must be pretty pleased with themselves today, as they’ve accomplished something that few others can claim: they constructed two satellites that have been sent into orbit.
And these aren’t just any satellites, either. They’re the first satellites constructed completely in Peru to ever be sent into space. Gestión reports that the pair of satellites, called PUCP-Sat 1 and Pocket-PUCP, are intended to be used for educational and research purposes. Furthermore, Gestión writes, the experience of these two first satellites will help Peruvian researchers improve designs and protections for future satellites.
The satellites were constructed with the help of instructors and students from the physics, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and telecommunications engineering departments.
According to Gestión, the satellites orbit the earth in approximately 90 minutes at a height of 630 kilometers. The satellites very small; the larger PUCP-Sat 1 is considered a “nanosatellite” and weighs only 1,240 grams. The smaller of the satellites, Pocket-PUCP is a “femto-satellite” that weighs only 97 grams, making it one of the lightest satellites in the world.
Director of the PUCP Radio Astronomy Institute Jorge Heraud Pérez told Andina news agency that “This is how Perú is entering its space age, with its own satellite that was made right here at home, in our university. Our country should throw itself into science and technology. Putting a satellite in space constitutes an advance in this direction. The best we can do is to share the sense of “Mission Accomplished” with the public.”