SHAH ALAM: Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) can proudly say that it is the first local university which has a nanosatellite in space.
The UiTMSAT-1 is being transported to the International Space Station on board the SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft which was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force, Florida, in the United States yesterday . The commercial resupply mission is expected to reach the space station with its payload, including UiTMSAT-1, on July 2.
UiTM vice-chancellor Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Hassan Said said UiTMSAT-1 marks another milestone for the public university and is paving the way for Malaysia to become “a space-faring nation”.
“We didn’t think we could do it,” he said before watching the live feed of the launch at the Shah Alam campus.
Prof Hassan added that this is also a significant moment for Malaysia.
The nanosatellite is the product of Malaysia’s collaboration with Japan, Bhutan and the Philippines under a project called Joint Global Multi-Nation BIRDS-2 Project.
Bhutan and the Philippines also developed a nanosatellite each, which are also on the way to the International Space Station together with UiTMSAT-1.
The nanosatellites or CubeSats were developed and tested by 10 postgraduate students – two Malaysians, two from the Philippines, three Japanese and three from Bhutan – at the Laboratory of Spacecraft Environmental Interaction Engineering, Kyushu Institute of Technology, Japan.
The Malaysians on the team, UiTM postgraduate students Syazana Basyirah Mohammad Zaki and Muhammad Hasif Azami, have been working on the project since December 2016.
The nanosatellite is a low-cost miniature instrument for space research. The data collected can be used for research, and also pave the way for industry and government-led initiatives, said UiTM Centre for Satellite Communication director Assoc Prof Mohamad Huzaimy Jusoh.
Each CubeSat, measuring 10cm×10cm×10cm and weighing 1kg will be sent into orbit from the International Space Station in mid-August.
* See full report in StarEducate next Sunday.