Malaysia’s Universiti Teknologi Mara launches its first nanosatellite into space
An announcement made by the Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) highlighted two of its students who were able to develop a nanosatellite, in collaboration with the Kyushu Institute of Technology (KyuTech), which was launched into space.
UiTM has built and launched its inaugural nanosatellite called the UiTMSAT-1 into space. The nanosatellite was launched on-board the Space X Falcon 9 cargo rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, USA to the International Space Station (ISS).
Two UiTm students built the 10-centimetre nanosatellite in Japan. The students, Syazana Basyirah Mohamad Zaki and Muhammad Hasif Azami, collaborated with KyuTech through the Joint Global Multi-Nation (BIRDS-2) program.
Syazana Basyirah and Muhammad Hasif are students from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering (FKE). They are currently pursuing Masters and PhD studies in related fields in the country.
Some of the notable people who witnessed the launch of the UiTMSAT-1 through the live feed on YouTube were UiTM Vice Chancellor Professor Emeritus Datuk Dr Hassan Said; Dean of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering Professor Dr Mohd Nasir Taib; Director of UiTM Satellite Communication Centre Professor Ir TS Dr Mohamad Huzaimy Jusoh.
According to Dr Hassan, the nanosatellite will be stored in the ISS temporarily. It is expected to be released into orbit, which is approximately 400,000 kilometres from the ground, this August.
He added, “I think it is a great achievement and it should be the beginning for UiTM citizens to reach the next level. It is hoped that more high-impact projects will be produced as it will definitely benefit the university as well as the nation.”
He explained, “In terms of cost, UiTM only spent RM500,000 for the cost of building the nanosatellite. The students are sent to Japan on government scholarship. The satellite launch are subsidised through the collaboration made with Japan.
Dr Mohamad Huzaimy explained that the nanosatellite has six missions while in space. These are image retrieval, testing satellite location correlation, Global Positioning System (GPS) chip test, measuring magnetic field in space for geomagnetic mapping data for the Southeast Asia region and radio communications.
Around 2,500 faculty students are expected to benefit from the six missions that the nanosatellite is supposed to do. This is beneficial for them as it relates to research for five courses that are being offered at the faculty.
He added that FKE has built a ground station, having a high speed communication channel, at the faculty in preparation for the data that will be transmitted by the nanosatellite later on.
He shared, “The UITMSAT-1 has a speed of 28,000 km/hr. It is capable of circling the earth up to seven times a day.”
It is essential to build a high speed communication channel in order to receive the data transmitted. It moves so fast that it can go through Malaysia in around 10 minutes.