Israel plans to launch three nanosatellites

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Israel’s Space Agency plans to launch three nanosatellites in 2016.

Israel plans to launch three nanosatellites

Israel’s Space Agency plans to launch three nanosatellites in 2016.

The nanosatellites were developed by Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa in cooperation with defense systems firm Rafael and Israel Aerospace Industries.

The nanosatellites will support the Samson (Space Autonomous Mission for Swarming and Geolocation with Nanosatellites) Project.

Each of the satellites weighs a mere eight kilograms and consists of six 10 cubic centimeter cubes.

The nanosatellites will be launched on board the Israeli-French Venus microsatellite from the European Space Center in Kourous, French Guiana.

“The breakthrough was the decision to go ahead with such a grandiose project in world terms, and one of the most complex in the academic world,” said team leader Professor Pini Gurfil.

“Along the way, we made a lot of progress in improving the algorithms for coordinated flight and assembling the satellite themselves. From a technological viewpoint, compressing all that information into a space the size of a shoebox itself is a breakthrough,” he added.

The three satellites will work in tandem, orbiting in fixed formation no more than 250 kilometers part from each other.

The Samson Project’s primary mission is to detect signals from people on Earth who are in distress. A secondary objective is to establish a platform for speedier communications and ultra-high resolution photography.

“We know there are planets similar to Earth beyond our solar system. We don’t know if they have life on them, because we can’t photograph them,” said Gurfil. “If we had a network of satellites with better photographic capabilities, we would take a picture of a planet like this. That’s the Holy Grail.”

The Samson Project is part of Israel’s goal of capturing a five percent share of the $150 billion global civilian space industry market.