Monday evening offered a momentous moment for Singapore — that nations' first satellite was launched from the International Space Station (ISS).
The satellite — Aoba Velox-III — is a joint project by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Japan's Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech). Orbiting at 400 km above sea level, the satellite will conduct tests to evaluate the durability of commercial off-the-shelf microprocessors in space, including a micro-propulsion system, consumer-grade electronic components and a wireless communication system.
The 2 kg smallsat has micro-thrusters, which will enable it to remain in space for six months, which is twice as long as normal for a satellite of this size. Instead of being launched from a rocket, the satellite was propelled into orbit around Earth by a Japanese astronaut at the space station using a special launcher. This is the seventh satellite that NTU has launched. Its last two were launched in December 2015.
Mr. Lim Wee Seng, the director of the NTU Satellite Research Centre, stated that riding on the success of the Aoba Velox-III, the nation is now developing a second joint satellite with Kyutech, which could lead to small and maneuverable satellites being used as space probes in future.