NTU’s 7th satellite successfully launched
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AOBA VELOX-III is first Singapore satellite sent into space from International Space Station
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) successfully launched its 7th satellite into space from the International Space Station (ISS) on 16 January. Named the AOBA VELOX-III, it is the first Singapore satellite to be launched from the ISS, a 110-metre habitable human-made satellite that orbits the Earth.
NTU’s satellite was delivered to the ISS last month by Japan’s national aerospace agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), on a resupply rocket from the Yoshinobu Launch Complex at Tanegashima Space Center, Japan.
Unlike the conventional way of launching a satellite directly into space from a rocket, the two-kilogramme VELOX-III was shot into orbit around earth using a special launcher by a Japanese astronaut at the ISS.
The AOBA VELOX-III is a joint project between NTU and Japan’s Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech), one of Japan’s leading universities for satellite research and engineering. The nano-satellite features a unique micro-thruster built by NTU, which enables the satellite to remain in space twice as long than it usually would.
The micro-thrusters will help the satellite to remain in orbit longer as satellites lose altitude over time due to the drag caused by the surrounding atmosphere at low earth orbit. It will maintain the satellite’s speed at 27,000km/h, extending its flight lifespan to six months instead of the usual three months before it loses altitude.
Orbiting at 400 kilometres above sea level, the AOBA VELOX-III will be conducting several tests. This includes the made-in-NTU micro-propulsion system, a new wireless communication system developed by Kyutech and experiments to evaluate the durability of commercial off-the-shelf microprocessors in space.
NTU’s new micro-propulsion system generates a small amount of thrust using pulsed plasma, which could lift the satellite 200 metres for each hour of flight. The pulsed plasma is produced by using 1500 volts of electricity applied to Teflon, a common fuel material for satellites.
Credit: Nanyang Technological University