Estonian team delivers Earth observation cameras to ESA satellite

Estonian ESTSat team raised 28,000 euros from Vega Foundation to deliver two cameras to European Space Agency satellite. The instrument composed of 2 cameras developed by University of Tartu in cooperation with Tartu Observatory and ESTCube under ESA’s Plan for European Cooperating States.

The instrument was built by ex-Estcube members and presented at Startup Day before the Vega Foundation. Estcubers said they plan to use the money for future modification of the cameras.

Estsat Startup Day

“Currently the cameras are too big to fit the cube satellite. We need to implement the number of mechanic, electronic and software modifications, and test them before bringing to market,” said Iaroslav Iakubivskyi from ESTSat management board.

Estcube is the first Estonian satellite and first satellite in the world that uses electric solar wind sail. Developed as part of the Estonian Student Satellite Program, it was launched in 2013 with a Vega rocket and successfully deployed into orbit. Successful ESTCube-1 imaging systems brought Estcubers the contract with ESA for developing dual-camera payload (two cameras).

The cameras received a big audience interest from other CubeSat teams after the presentation in IAC and 4S Symposium earlier this year. At the moment the ESTCube Foundation, Estonian non-profit for space education and entrepreneurship, is in the process of establishing a spin-off company, ESTSat, whose first project will be to make telescopic camera CubeSat-compatible and offer it in the market.

Besides cameras, for Earth observation, the company also plans to develop highly integrated satellite bus with star tracker, electrical power system, communication system, onboard computer, and attitude control system, which would also have a de-orbiting module. Space debris is a big problem in space right now and the module would enable de-orbiting the satellite to lower altitudes over time. ESTSat will work on the module together with Finnish Meteorological Institute.

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