WATCH: University reveals first Malta’s space mission

Almost 50 years after the Maltese ambassador at the United Nations, Arvid Pardo, established the principle of the international law that governs the supra natural jurisdictions, Malta finally is ready to take an initiative far from it last border of the common heritage of mankind – the Space.

In conformity with its mission to move the country forward in the technological world, the University of Malta in collaboration with the UK University of Birmingham, the Malta Amateur Radio League (MARL), and the Italian company Astrodinamika, GAUSS Srl in Rome, is planning Malta’s first space mission.

Gauss Team UNISAT6 Video Still2A miniature equipment 5x5x5 cm, 250 grams, known as PocketQube pico-satellite, will be launched sometime in 2018 in the terrestrial orbit synchronized with the sun (sun-synchronous low earth orbit – LEO) and will be used as an experiment on the validity of the equipment on board (known mostly aspayload). The equipment will study the properties of an ionized region in the upper atmosphere of the world (known as the ionosphere).

This collaboration has brought together two Maltese students post graduate in engineering – Darren Cachia in Malta and Jonathan Camilleri, a Ph.D. student in the Università of Birmingham – who joined forces and are developing the satellite platform and the scientificpayload respectively

Mr Cachia said that the project was awarded a Scholarship known as Endeavour that is partially financed by the EU European Social Fund (ESF).

UoMSat1 Early Mock-up
An early example showing the typical size of the Pico-Satellite

The launching of this first mission will pave the way for another eight satellites spread on a bigger geographic area that will cover variable ionospheric conditions that affect radio communication. The mission is expected to last 18 months and will send back to the earth information that will be accessible to whoever has a set of amateur radio.

Last year, the Engineering Faculty, through the Malta Council for Science and Technology, established contacts with the European Space Agency to offer its students a wide range of training, research and career prospects in advanced engineering sectors. Discussions are also underway with the University of Malta Institute of Space Sciences and Astronomy (ISSA) that will eventually see the University develop its own scientific space missions.