TUMnanoSAT, the first satellite made in Moldova, has been successfully placed in orbit around the Earth by astronauts from the International Space Station, under the international program KiboCUBE. The Technical University of Moldova, where the satellite was created, was selected for this program by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the United Nations Space Office.
Viorel Bostan, rector of the Technical University, said that the idea of creating a satellite appeared back in 2008. “Space technologies have always been a catalyst, an additional reason for students to learn physics, mathematics and technology engineering, and enable Moldova to use space technologies that are widely used by many developed countries”, he said.
Professors and students alike from different TUM faculties contributed to the creation of the nanosatellite. The average age of the team is under 30 years. According to Viorel Bostan, the team of experts is now working on a second iteration.
Attending the celebration event, Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilița said that the Moldovan Government is discussing with international companies the possibility of using the data from TUMnanoSAT to estimate agricultural productivity, for example, or assess consequences of natural disasters.
Japan’s Ambassador Yoshihiro Katayama highlighted the contribution of the KiboCUBE program to the launch of Moldova’s first satellite. “Kibo in Japanese means hope. Today Moldova launched not only a satellite, but also sent hope for the future. I have witnessed this wonderful project, for which so many talented and hardworking people have worked. I am sure that this step forward will be followed by other projects in which the Japanese people will continue to stand by your side”, said the ambassador.
Representing a cube of edge 10cm and weighing 1.15 kg, TUMnanoSAT was designed, built and tested from June 2019 to October 2021. It’s an educational and research satellite that will help in the study of solar energy, among other tasks.