Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
by Staff Writers
Cape Town, South Africa (XNA) Mar 09, 2014
South Africa's first nano- satellite experienced two very close encounters with defunct satellites in the past few days after three months in orbit, authorities said on Monday.
The nano-satellite, the ZACUBE-1, came within an estimated 185m of the defunct Russian COSMOS 2151 satellite over Antarctica on Wednesday, the South African Department of Science and Technology (SADST) said in a statement.
Remarkably, a second warning was received on Thursday, with ZACUBE-1 predicted to come within 85m of yet another defunct Russian satellite, METEOR 2-5, over Brazil.
ZACUBE-1 was developed by the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and launched on Nov. 21 2013. The CPUT has independently confirmed with its ground station that ZACUBE-1 is still beaconing and has survived both close encounters.
There is nothing that can be done to alter the course or altitude of ZACUBE-1 as it has no propulsion control, the SADST said, adding that the other two defunct satellites can also not be maneuvered.
There is a margin of uncertainty in the predicted paths of the satellites, and all close encounters of this nature can result in collision.
Accidental collisions of space objects are, however, extremely rare, with only two incidents reported since the beginning of space exploration. The risk of collision increases with the number of objects launched, which necessitates technical and regulatory measures to mitigate space debris for the future sustainable use of outer space.
ZACUBE-1 has proven to be a true survivor, and continues to defy the odds in a very harsh environment to carry its scientific mission forward. In its short existence, the satellite survived the ferocity of the launch on a converted inter-continental ballistic missile, harsh radiation from the sun, extreme temperature fluctuations and the recent close calls with space debris.
The nano-satellite has been commissioned and all systems are functioning normally. The first satellite beacon was received only hours after launch, and it has been beaconing ever since.
The satellite measures only 10 x 10 x 10 cm and weighs 1.2kg, 100 times smaller than Sputnik 1, the first satellite launched into space in 1957. Running on the same amount of power as a 5- watt bulb, ZACUBE-1 carries a high frequency beacon that will be used to study the propagation of radio waves through the ionsphere, providing valuable space weather data to the South African National Space Agency as it orbits Earth up to 15 times a day at an altitude of 600 km.
Source: Xinhua News Agency
China National Space Administration
Space Technology News - Applications and Research
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.|