Singapore’s first indigenous micro-satellite, X-SAT, lifted off on board India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C16 at 10.12am Indian Standard Time (12.42pm, Singapore time) on 20 April 2011.
The X-SAT, developed and built by Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU), in collaboration with DSO National Laboratories, was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, India.
The wholly made-in-Singapore satellite was one of the two “piggyback” mission satellites loaded on the PSLV-C16 rocket owned by the Indian Space Research Organisation. The PSLV-C16 successfully inserted the X-SAT into its planned orbit around the Earth.
“We are delighted with the successful launch of Singapore’s first experimental micro-satellite into space. This represents a huge leap for our local research and development endeavours in space technology and building micro-satellites,” said NTU President Dr Su Guaning. “I congratulate the X-SAT team of scientists, researchers and students. Their perseverance in the quest for new knowledge in space technology is most admirable and commendable.”
“The sky is not the limit. There are enormous amounts in the world of science and technology that have not been explored and our academics are continually exploring and pushing the boundaries. We hope that the successful launch of X-SAT will excite and inspire more of our youths to take up engineering, and possibly venture into space technology,” said Dr Su.
The NTU team members involved in the X-SAT project are currently trying to establish communication contact with the satellite from the Mission Control Station at NTU’s Research Techno Plaza. Once contact with X-SAT is established, an initial health status of the satellite will be ascertained and confirmed.
This experimental micro-satellite carries three payloads, namely an imaging system, an advanced navigation experimental set-up, and a parallel processing unit for image processing experiments. Weighing 105kg, the X-SAT is designed for the purpose of research associated with earth remote-sensing applications. It has a mission life of three years.