Press Release-Launch of Bhutan’s First Satellite BHUTAN-1
The Hon’ble Minister for Information and Communications congratulated the Space Engineers studying at Kyutech, Japan, for developing the CubeSat BHUTAN-1. BHUTAN-1 marks Bhutan’s first step towards development of Bhutan’s Space Science and Technology Program, which is a vision of His Majesty the King.
Bhutan’s first satellite (a CubeSat), BHUTAN-1 piggybacked on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with other payload to the International Space Station (ISS) at 3:42 p.m BST on Friday, 29th June, 2018 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, USA. The launch took place together with the BIRDS-2 CubeSats of Philippines and Malaysia i.e. MAYA-1 and UiTMST-1.
BHUTAN-1 has been developed by Bhutanese engineers at the Kyushu Institute of Technology as part of their Master’s Degree under the BIRDS-2 Project. The BIRDS Project is a cross-border interdisciplinary satellite project for non space faring countries supported by Japan.
The BIRDS-2 CubeSats was launched with other payloads that the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is delivering to the ISS which include research hardware, crew supplies and spare parts for the ISS.
BHUTAN-1 will remain on the ISS and will be released into low earth orbit with the other CubeSats sometime second and third week of August 2018. Once released BHUTAN-1 will become operational and can be tracked from the ground station in MoIC.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch was broadcasted live from Cape Canaveral and can be viewed online from 3:15 p.m BST on June 29, 2018 via the link provided below :
Functions of the CubeSat BHUTAN-1
The missions finalized for the CubeSat are as follows:
1. Camera mission
i. Take photograph of homeland via 2 onboard cameras of 5 MP.
2. Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) Digipeater Demonstration
i. Receive and send text messages message from an amateur radio
ii. Broadcast/relay to all other amateurs within the range
iii. Uplink and Downlink will operate in 145 MHz (VHF) Frequency Band.
3. Demonstration of CubeSat’s store-and-forward ability: collect data from remote sensors like weather stations and download it to central ground station.
4. Commercial off the Shelf (COTS) GPS technology demonstration: Low power, less expensive and small size to be used in CubeSats and nanosatellites. Satellites use GPS to
keep track of time and its location.
5. Single Event Latch-up (SEL) detection: To study the radiation effect on satellites
6. Bhutan-1 will pass around the country for 4-5 times in a day for 3-4 minutes.
7. The lifespan of BHUTAN-1 is 6 to 9 months