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Mauritius launches first satellite

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The first Mauritian satellite (a CubeSat – MIR-SAT1) was successfully launched on Thursday evening onboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket (Mission: CRS-22/SpX-22) from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The Mauritius Imagery and Radiotelecommunication Satellite 1 (MIR-SAT1) was built by a team of researchers at the Mauritius Research and Innovation Council (MRIC), which operates under the Ministry of Information Technology Communication and Innovation.

The local Amateur Radio Society also supported it in collaboration with experts from AAC-Clyde Space UK. Mauritius was the winner of the 3rd round UNOOSA/JAXA KiboCube Programme in 2018. JAXA awarded the nation the opportunity to build and deploy a 1U Cube Satellite through the International Space Station (ISS).

In February, MIR-SAT1 was handed over to JAXA to be deployed from the Japanese Experiment Module (Kibo) “KiboCUBE” on the ISS.

First Mauritian Nanosatellite, MIR-SAT1 | Image Credit: Mauritius Research and Innovation Council (MRIC)

The primary objective of the MIR-SAT1 is to acquire satellite technology through the design process, design review, assembly, integration and testing.

In parallel, the MRIC has set up a ground station located at its premises in Ebene, which will serve to control and operate the MIR-SAT1.

This Ground station will also allow the receipt of data and telemetry from other satellites. The Ground Station is being equipped with a ‘FlatSat’ module, a replica of the 1U, enabling engineers to simulate all the required manoeuvres before sending the command to the CubeSat. The FlatSat Module is a key tool for the Mauritian Engineers to design future CubeSats after the MIR-SAT1.

The Mauritian MIR-SAT1 is Africa’s second satellite in 2021, bringing the total number of African satellites to 44.

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