The 100% Portuguese satellite is being developed at Instituto Superior Técnico, in Lisbon, with the support of the Telecommunications Institute.
After intense competition, the European Space Agency has selected the Portuguese satellite ISTsat-1 to integrate the next batch of CubeSats to be sent into space, which will be put into orbit by the International Space Station astronauts.
The integral construction of the satellite developed at Instituto Superior Técnico, as well as the preparation for its launch and monitoring, is carried out by a fully Portuguese team, made up of six coordinators, two collaborators and 14 students.
In addition to securing the largest share of the budget - between € 500,000 and € 1 million - ESA will provide technical support and is responsible for launching the satellite. Everything else is ensured by the Portuguese team, from the design of all hardware (controllers, radios, sensors, power supplies and actuators) to software development, including digital processing and communication systems.
According to Gonçalo Tavares, coordinator of communication systems, "the fact that it is the Portuguese team making all the subsystems was one of the aspects that ESA valued", a note sent to newsrooms.
Launched in 1993, POSAT-1 - a project led by the scientist Fernando Carvalho Rodrigues, with the support of several Portuguese companies and universities - is considered the first Portuguese satellite. However, "this is the first satellite built by a Portuguese university," says Rui Rocha, an IT researcher and ISTsat-1 team leader.
Despite the partnership between the Portuguese Association of Radio Amateurs for Research, Education and Development (AMRAD) and the Institute of Systems and Computer Engineering (INESC), the project also needs support - in particular from the private sector - to that the satellite, already at an advanced stage, will become a reality.
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