July 15, 2016

Finnish Aalto-2 satellite is ready for space

Dozens of students from Aalto University's different departments have participated in the design and construction of the Aalto-2 satellite.
Dozens of students from Aalto University's different departments have participated in the design and construction of the Aalto-2 satellite.
Tuomas Tikka

The Finnish Aalto University-based Aalto-2 satellite is now ready to take part in the international QB50 Mission.

Construction of the Aalto University’s Aalto-2 satellite began as a doctoral project in 2012, when the first students graduated as a Master’s of Science in Technology after working on the previous satellite project known as Aalto-1.

“The project aims to further develop the technologies and know-how initially developed in the Aalto-1 project,” says Jaan Praks, responsible project leader, assistant professor. “These satellites are Aalto’s next generation’s tour de force in space technology.”

The aim of the international QB50 Mission project is to produce the first ever comprehensive model of the features of the thermosphere, the layer between the Earth’s atmosphere and space. A total of 50 nanosatellites are taking part in the project, which will be launched as a satellite cluster on a low orbit. The satellites will spread rapidly across a large area during orbit, and then less than half a year later are set to fall into the Earth’s atmosphere, where they will burn on impact due to friction.

The Aalto-2 satellite’s multi-stage journey from Otaniemi, Espoo to orbit will begin next week, when it is delivered to Dutch company Delft’s Innovative Solutions in Space cleanroom. Final checks will be run on the satellite in the cleanroom, after which it will be attached to the Nanorack’s launch adapter.

From there, its journey will continue to east coast of the United States to await the launch of the ATK’s Antares rocket and the Cygnus cargo vessel to the ISS international space station. The launch will take place at the end of this year.

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