Estonian satellite ESTCube-2 due for launch Saturday

The ESTCube-2 cubesat.
The ESTCube-2 cubesat. Source: Karin Pai

Estonia's fourth satellite launch is due to take place this Saturday, ERR's Novaator portal reports.

In addition to testing out various scientific instruments, ground systems cyber security integrity is also to be put to the test, in the course of the mission, the fourth Estonian ESTCube satellite, so-called because it consists of three cubes of 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm.

The ESTCube-2, which has a mass of 4.5kg, is to be launched on Saturday morning shortly after 4.30 a.m. Estonian time (launches take place in French Guiana), put back from its original launch window of today, Thursday.

The first signals from ESTCube-2 are expected from around 10 a.m., at the Tartu observatory at least, though amateur enthusiasts in the U.S. for instance will be able to pick these up about 90 minutes earlier than that, systems engineer team leader Kristo Allaje told ERR:

"The satellite will then plot a course over Siberia, and from there it will be moving towards Estonia," Allaje went on.

Kristo Allaje. Source: Karin Pai

Experiments to be conducted in earth orbit will include corrosion tests and the testing of earth observation cameras, and also deploying a plasma brake which will cause the satellite to reenter the earth's atmosphere and burn-up, rather than contributing to the space debris problem by remaining in orbit unused.

A cyber security system from cyber security company CybExer Technologies is being tested on ground systems, in order to to develop better resistance to cyber attacks. 

Any mishap during launch which caused the destruction of the satellite would mean a year's wait for a new satellite to be put together, Allaje added.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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