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Moldova launched the first satellite into orbit

The first artificial satellite made in the Republic of Moldova – “TUMnanoSAT” – which was built by the Technical University of Moldova (UTM), was placed in the earth’s orbit from the International Space Station. The event was broadcast online, and in Chisinau, high officials of the country’s leadership, representatives of the academic environment, but also those passionate about technologies, gathered at Tekwill to watch the historic event. The satellite was launched into outer space by astronauts from the International Space Station as part of the international program, KiboCUBE, the Technical University of Moldova being selected by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the United Nations Space Office.

Present at the event, Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilița emphasized that space exploration brings more benefits to people, economic agents, economy and science.

Natalia Gavrilița, Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova: “Currently the Government of the Republic of Moldova is discussing with international companies the possibility of using satellite data to determine the yield in agriculture, for example. Or to assess the consequences of natural disasters. That can make a government’s policies much more accurate and benefit the entire economy. Despite all the difficulties, we will continue to invest in universities and science”.

Viorel Bostan, rector of the Technical University of Moldova: “The idea to create a satellite appeared back in 2008, so that the Republic of Moldova could also explore outer space. Space technologies have always been a catalyst, an additional reason for pupils and students to learn physics, mathematics, technology engineering, and for the Republic of Moldova to be able to use for its benefit those space technologies that are widely used by many developed countries. Then it seemed like a dream, a distant dream, but in 2009 the first group was created. I was skeptical at the first stage, but we see that we have succeeded almost 14 years later. In 2018 we tried for the first time to apply to this program, KiboCUBE. I didn’t succeed on the first try, but again I learned the lesson, if you don’t succeed on the first try, learn from the second and on the third try I succeeded”, said Viorel Bostan.

The Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Moldova, Yoshihiro Katayama, stated that the first Moldovan satellite was launched into outer space, and the Japanese were able to give a little help in this regard, the satellite being sent into orbit through the KiboCUBE program. “Kibo in Japanese means ‘hope.’ Today the Republic of Moldova launched not only a satellite, but launched and sent hope for the future. I have witnessed this wonderful project, for which so many talented and hardworking people have worked. I am convinced that this step forward will be followed by other projects in which the Japanese will be with you”, said the ambassador.

Teaching staff, students, masters and doctoral students from different faculties of UTM contributed to the creation of the nanosatellite. The average age of the team is under 30 years old. According to the rector of UTM, currently the team of experts from the Technical University is working on the creation of the second version of the nanosatellite.

The nanosatellite TUMnanoSAT is a cube with an edge of 10 cm and a mass of 1,150 kg. It will have educational and research missions. It will allow the testing of subsystem sensors for determining the attitude of the satellite (magnetometers, micro-gyroscopes, solar sensors) for the optimization of the attitude control algorithms, the development of an efficient “satellite-ground station” communication subsystem, the testing of the solar energy supply system for obtaining optimal ways of distributing the accumulated energy, studying the functionality and behavior of nanosensors in the conditions of virtual space, testing the reliability of electronic components in the conditions of space radiation. TUMnanoSAT was designed, built and tested from July 2019 to October 2021 within the State Program “Development and launch of the series of nanosatellites with research missions from the International Space Station, their monitoring, post-operation and promotion of space technologies”. Between June and August 2021, the TUMnanoSAT satellite passed all the functional tests at the Romanian Institute of Space Sciences, according to the rigors of JAXA and NASA. Later, in March, it was transported to Japan, at JAXA, where it was included in the JSSOD launch capsule. In April, it was transported to NASA and included in Cargo Dragon-2.


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