The satellite, which was developed and built by Slovak engineers and scientists, was presented in Bratislava on January 7. The Slovak Organisation for Space Activities (SOSA) was behind the inception of the project in 2012. The project was carried out by Žilina University and Košice Technical University.
Its development was partly supported by the Government Office, the Education, Science, Research and Sport Ministry and the Transport, Construction and Regional Development Ministry.
“More than four years ago we started to dream a very brave dream about how Slovakia could become a part of the prestigious group of countries that have sent their own satellites into Earth’s orbit,” said SOSA chairman Jakub Kapuš, as quoted by the TASSR newswire. “Today we are reaching a great milestone.”
Kapuš views the launch into space as the “icing on the cake”, as the satellite's development and construction has fulfilled many of the aims that the project's representatives had set.
"We want to show that there's potential in Slovakia to carry out such projects, as space projects don't have be performed by NASA alone,” said Kapuš.
The skCUBE satellite is in the shape of a cube. It measures 10x10x10 centimetres and weighs about one kilogram. Its operational orbit will be 450-720 km above the Earth. It will orbit the Earth approximately every 90 minutes at a speed of 28,000 km per hour.
“Such satellites are a great tool for us to acquire experience and know-how. It's a good platform for small experiments,” said Kapuš, as quoted by TASR.
The skCUBE is made up of an onboard computer, an electricity supply system and a communications system. It also features a sensory system, an orientation control system and a small camera. The main experiment will concern the reception of very long radio waves coming from deep space and from the upper layers of the atmosphere.
“Our aim is also for the Slovak satellite to take a photo of Slovakia,” said Kapuš, as quoted by TASR.
The final tests and checks on the skCUBE were carried out in January. The developers assume that if everything goes according to plan, the satellite will go into space in May. They also believe that this project will be covered by scientific journals.
Parliamentary Chairman Peter Pellegrini, who attended the ceremonial presentation, praised the whole project.
“In a few months this satellite will be sent into orbit and will carry out its research tasks,” said Pellegrini, as quoted by TAST. “I’m very glad that there’s potential in Slovakia for our scientists and researchers and that many companies will take part in other large international projects.”