Kathmandu, April 16
NepaliSat-1, the country’s own satellite, is going to be launched at 2:00am Nepali time from Virginia, USA, on Thursday.
The satellite will be launched by Orbital ATK, an American aerospace manufacturer and defence industry company.
NepaliSat-1, with Nepali flag and the logo of Nepal Academy of Science and Technology printed on it, will be kept at the International Space Station for a month and then it will be sent to orbit the earth.
According to Nepal Academy of Science and Technology, NepaliSat-1 will be in the lower orbit — some 400 kilometres away from the earth. It will be in the Nepali orbit only for around five minutes.
Nepal Academy of Science and Technology initiated the launch of the country’s own satellite under the BIRDS project of the Japanese Kyushu Institute of Technology. The BIRDS project has been designed in association with the United Nations aiming to help countries launch their first satellite.
Nepal Academy of Science and Technology has invested nearly Rs 20 million for the satellite that weighs 1.3 kilograms.
Spokesperson for NAST Suresh Kumar Dhungel said they invested in the satellite in a bid to open new paths for space engineering in the country.
Dhungel said the satellite was not being launched only for strategic purposes.
He informed that with the help of NepaliSat-1, ground station located at NAST office will communicate and gather images of the geographical area of the country.
Meanwhile, NAST has yet to set up the ground station for receiving data sent by the satellite. Dhungel said that the date for the tender of satellite communication system has almost been finished and the ground station will be set up before the satellite reaches its slot in the lower orbit.
“We still have around one month time to set up the ground station,” he said, adding that all the preparations were over and they would start work on setting up the ground station once they received the equipment required for it.
A version of this article appears in print on April 17, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.