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2015.09.08 13:45

Lithuania launched its first satellites into space

DELFI.lt 2015.09.08 13:45

Virginijus Sinkevičius | The Lithuania Tribune The first two satellites created by Lithuanian scientists were at last launched into space. After several delays caused by either severe cold or extreme sun activity, yesterday, on 9 January 2014, at 1:07 p.m. EST the spacecraft ‘Cygnus’ carrying two Lithuanian satellites was launched.

 Virginijus Sinkevičius | The Lithuania Tribune

The first two satellites created by Lithuanian scientists were at last launched into space. After several delays caused by either severe cold or extreme sun activity, yesterday, on 9 January 2014, at 1:07 p.m. EST the spacecraft ‘Cygnus’ carrying two Lithuanian satellites was launched.

This is a historic moment for Lithuania which only takes its first steps in space science. Satellites were a product of co-operation between The United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and teams from Kaunas Technology University and the Space Sciences and Technology Institute in Vilnius University.

Cygnus was launched into a clear blue sky from Wallops Island, Virginia, the US. The rocket was visible along the East Coast from South Carolina to Massachusetts and even in North Carolina. Shortly after the spacecraft crossed international waters the space station was flying about 261 miles above the Earth, off the coast of Brazil.

According to NASA sources, solar array deployment is complete for Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Cygnus spacecraft, now travelling at 17,500 mph in the Earth’s orbit to rendezvous with the International Space Station on Sunday, 12 January2014, for the Orbital-1 cargo resupply mission.

Cygnus is carrying 2,780 pounds of supplies to the station, not including the weight of packaging materials. This cargo includes vital science experiments, crew provisions, spare parts and other hardware.

The historic moment for Lithuania at Wallops was admired by the creators of the first Lithuanian satellites, the staff of the Lithuanian embassy in the United States and media. It was a thrilling moment for young Lithuanian scientists to launch their first space satellites.

One of the creators of LituanicaSAT-1 from Vilnius University, Vytenis Buzas, admitted that this is not only a huge project for him personally as young person, but also for his young country. “It is fascinating that being only a 23 year-old independent country, Lithuania’s scientists managed to enter space. I am extremely happy to be part of this team,” said Buzas.

LitSat-1 and LituanicaSAT-1 are small cube-shaped satellites, which aim to use low cost open-source software and hardware for primary and secondary flight computers that will control the payload consisting of an onboard VGA camera and GPS receiver, also carrying a linear transponder and a packet radio transceiver.

LitSat-1 and Lituanica Sat-1 satellites are a project developed by a team of more than 30 different specialists from Vilnius University and Kaunas Technology University, supported by several Lithuanian organisations and companies, especially the Lithuanian Space Federation.

The satellites will fly in the Earth’s orbit for more than six months, 400 kilometres above the planet’s surface at 8/km per second speed. After the half-a-year-long space mission, satellites are expected to fully burn out in the atmosphere.