By Sheain Fernandopulle
Sri Lanka’s first-ever satellite ‘RAAVANA-1’ – designed and developed by two local research engineers – was successfully launched into orbit yesterday at 3.45 p.m.
- Satellites from Nepal, Japan launched at the same time
RAAVANA-1 was launched into 400km of orbit at an inclination of 51.6 degrees using the Kibo experiment module owned by the Japanese Aerospace and Exploration Agency (JAXA). The first-ever satellite from Nepal and one from Japan were also launched at the same time.
RAAVANA-1, a cube-seized miniature satellite built by Tharindu Dayaratne and Dulani Chamika, made our entrance to the space age. It was launched to the International Space Station in the 400km orbit by CYGNUS spacecraft of NASA on April 18 at 2.16 a.m. (Sri Lanka time) by rocket ‘ANTRAS.’
CYGNUS was connected to ISS by April 20 and was accepted by the JAXA section in ISS. RAAVANA-1 was officially handed over to JAXA on February 18. The nano-satellite signifies Sri Lanka’s entry to the field of space research. RAAVANA-1 is expected to fulfil five missions including the capturing of pictures of Sri Lanka and surrounding regions and active attitude stabilisation that ensures the satellite’s attitude is stable under the influence of external talks. The satellite which was designed and built at the Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan is 1,000 cubic centimetres in size and weighs 1.1kg.