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KiwiSat closer to lift-off

KiwiSat closer to lift-off

Significant design improvements to a space satellite in development at the Albany campus bring the launch date from Russia closer to becoming a reality.

KiwiSat is New Zealand’s first space satellite and is the initiative of an amateur satellite group backed by the University. The satellite is only slightly larger than a basketball and on completion it will be launched into space attached to a Russian satellite.

Once launched it is hoped the satellite will connect with global amateur radio stations and collect data.

Researcher Fred Kennedy is leading the project and says a significant advance has been made with the addition of new solar cells to the surface of the satellite. These new solar cells are more than twice as efficient as the previous cells – an improvement that is important in boosting the batteries that will power the satellite.

Battery failure has been a problem for other satellites. Ultimately, says Mr Kennedy, KiwiSat would have solar cells on wings that could be manipulated to give the cells maximum exposure to the sun. He says the development of the satellite is going well and he expects it to be ready to launch in about two years’ time.

ENDS

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