The Student ESTCube-1 Satellite Is a Role Model for Estonian Research and Development Activities
At the initiative of the students of Tartu and Tallinn and in international cooperation, Estonian first space satellite ESTCube-1 is being prepared by the end of December and sent to Earth orbit in April 2013. On Riigikogu session of 20 December, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip set the student satellite as a role model for research and development activities in Estonia.
On 20 December, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip made his annual summary about the state of research and development activities and policy in Estonia, where he pointed out that research and development activities are not considered excessive luxury any more, but as existentially important activities that deserve constant attention.
"An achievement in itself is the Estonian student satellite ESTCube-1 that will be sent to space next spring. Although it is a body with 1-litre volume, its benefits can be measured in cubic metres already today," said Ansip, adding that the project can be characterized by intense cooperation of different universities with the aim to realize common interests and he acknowledged everybody from University of Tartu, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Estonian Aviation Academy, Estonian companies and involved foreign partner universities, who had been related with the project.
Estonian Student Satellite project that started in 2008 from cooperation between Tartu Observatory and the University of Tartu has a substantial role in developing space science and technology and popularising real sciences. Erik Kulu, a student from the Faculty of Physics of the University of Tartu, who participated in the project, said that the prime minister's acknowledgement to project members was a nice Christmas present to all of them. "Last year Academician Ene Ergma also discussed the issues of Estonian space project in the parliament. This year the state decided to finance the sending of ESTCube-1 satellite to orbit," said Erik. "During this project our students have proved their ability to think creatively and to handle great challenges independently," said the project supervisor Mart Noorma, the senior research fellow from Tartu Observatory and the docent of the University of Tartu. "The most important benefits to the Estonian nation that are related to space project are undoubtedly the numerous sparkle-eyed young engineers and scientists, who will contribute to the knowledge-based economy of the next generation. We are especially grateful to all those Estonian companies, who have granted technical aid for the construction of the space craft."
The aim of the satellite sent to orbit is to test an electric sunsail in space for the very first time, in order to develop a new engine for space crafts that would achieve record speed when moving in space. The developed engine can help to decrease the amount of space garbage in the future, redirect the asteroids endangering the Earth and send scientific instruments faster to other planets.
Read more about student satellite ESTCube-1 from the program's webpage.
Additional information: Mart Noorma, supervisor of the Student Satellite program, tel: +372 523 9159, e-mail: mart.noorma [ät] ut.ee.