Techast (aka Gurwin )

The TECHSAT satellite was developed by the Asher Space Research Institute at the Technion together with the Technion Physics Department and Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, the Israeli Space Agency, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and several high-tech companies. The process of developing a micro-satellite, begun in the mid-1990s, was targeted to utilize state-of-the-art space technologies.

The first TECHSAT satellite weighed 50kg and consumed less than 17 watts. Most of the hardware was donated by Israeli companies who were interested in testing out new ideas and innovations in a space environment on board a satellite. Developed at the Asher Space Research Institute of the Israel Institute of Technology with the assistance of the Israel Space Agency and IAI, Techsat 1 is a 3-axis-stabilized spacecraft of 50 kg mass. The multi-purpose payload included a digital store/dump message handling system for amateur radio operators as well as a UV telescope, a CCD imaging system, and X-ray detectors. The spacecraft is to be inserted into an orbit of approximately 700 km altitude (References 144-145, 147-148). Development costs of the first TECHSAT amounted to US$ 3.5 million and it was launched on the Russian START launcher in March 1995. Unfortunately, the Russian launcher failed and the satellite did not make it into orbit.

TECHSAT II built subsequently, was similar in form with a few additions, and was launched successfully on July 10, 1998 by the Ukrainian Zenith launcher from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It is currently in orbit. The satellite weighs 48kg and is orbiting earth at the height of 820km. It is cube shaped and measures 50cm on a side. The satellite has solar panels on five of its sides, providing it with energy. The sixth side faces earth and carries a camera and other instruments. TECHSAT circles earth 16 times in 24 hours.

The TECHSAT was designed for scientific purposes and so far has transmitted information for six experiments. One of them, for example, monitors the ozone layer using a simple radiation detector that measures the level of UV radiation back-scattered by the ozone layer: a thicker layer scatters more radiation. Another experiment examined the function of electrical circuits, and a third explored the question of whether super-conductors are modified by a sojourn in space.

The satellite successfully remained in space and fulfilled all its assignments for 12 years.

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Page last modified: 10-04-2014 19:04:52 ZULU