Nepal launching its first satellite
By Binu Shrestha
Kathmandu, Apr. 18:Nepal’s first satellite is being launched into space on Thursday.
The satellite named Nepalisat-1 was developed by scientists Avash Maskay and Hari Ram Shrestha.
The Nepalisat-1 will be launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility located on Virginia’s Eastern Shore of the United States of America, said Dr. Rabindra Dhakal, Chief of Faculty of Technology at the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST).
The 1.3 kg nano-satellite will be launched by Antares rocket and will be taken to the international space station as a cargo.
Dr. Dhakal said that the launching time of the satellite is set at 02:31 Nepal Standard Time on Thursday morning. The nano-satellite weighs 1.3 kg.
Nepali scientists Maskay and Shrestha were selected for a postgraduate scholarship programme at the Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech).
Like Nepal, Sri Lanka and Japan are also jointly launching their satellites having similar features. As such, Sri Lanka is entering the space for the first time with Nepal on the same date.
“This satellite launching will be a milestone in the science and technology sector of Nepal. It is expected to encourage similar sci-tech ventures in future,” Dr. Dhakal said.
The success of the mission would be instrumental to the Nepali scientists for their future space endeavours.
According to Dr. Dhakal, launching and operating the satellite were just the first step towards capacity building and motivating the scientists of the nation.
Dhakal informed that the satellite would be held on the International Space Station (ISS) for a month to examine its successful deployment in the outer space.
The life of Nepalisat-1 is three years. Once on its orbit, the satellite will take 90 minutes to go around the earth. It would be visible in Nepal’s sky for 5 to 8 minutes every day.
The NAST is working to build a ground station inside its office premises to receive the image signals to be sent by the Nepalisat-1 nano-satellite.
NAST said that it has has opened a tender to build the ground station. “Construction of the ground station will take around one and half months,” Dhakal said.