Two postgraduate students from Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) have made the country proud after their maiden nanosatellite, UiTMSAT-1 was launched into outer space.
Syazana Basyirah Mohammad Zaki and Muhammad Hasif Azami who are both studying at Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan said there were many challenges in designing and developing the nanosatellite as they had only 15 months to complete the project.
But their hard work paid off, making UiTM the first public university in Malaysia’s history to do so.
Syazana, who works on the “Measurement of Magnetic Field” by Anisotropic Magneto Resistence Magnetometer said the biggest challenge for them was the time limit.
She said although each of the 10 team members were given specific and critical tasks in the development of all three nanosatellites, it was still a race against time where they had to work almost every day in the laboratory.
“We had meetings twice a day towards the end of the project. We didn’t have any weekends for time off,” she told New Straits Times in an interview.
She said it was a long and tedious process, where each component had to be tested to ensure it could withstand the harsh conditions of outer space.
“Factors such as temperature, stability (due to the strong vibrations during the rocket launch) and zero gravity had to be taken into account.
“The nanosatellite also had to be assembled in a clean room to make sure there are no dust particles on it,” she added.
For Hasif, he was particularly feeling nervous during the rocket launch and the deployment event, which was the most crucial part.
Responsible for the “Earth Imaging Camera Mission”, Hasif also said the most challenging and unforgettable part was being away from his family as they both had to work in the lab for almost ‘24/7’ throughout the project.
“We hope that UiTM will continue their support in our next project to expand the nanosatellite. The knowledge we gained should not stop here but carry on until our mission is fulfilled,” he said.
The nano-satellite was sent to the International Space Station (ISS) via the cargo rocket Space X Falcon 9 that was launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The cube-shaped nano-satellite measuring 10cm was built following a collaborative effort with the Kyushu Institute of Technology (KyuTech) under the ‘Joint Global Multi-Nation’ programme.
The launching of UiTMSAT-1 that was screened via an ISS live feed on YouTubewas witnessed by UiTM vice-chancellor Prof Emeritus Hassan Said, the director of its Centre for Satellite Communication Prof Ir TS Mohamad Huzaimy Jusoh as well as the lecturers and student.
Hassan said the nano-satellite would be temporarily kept at ISS and was expected to be released to its orbit, about 400,000 km from earth, in August.
Meanwhile, Mohamad Huzaimy explained that the nano-satellite had six missions, including to capture images, test the satellite location correlation and the Global Positioning System chip, measure the magnetic field in outer space to obtain data on geomagnetic mapping in Southeast Asia and for radio communication.
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