On Friday, June 23, 2017, in the morning, the VZLUSAT-1 nanosatellite was launched into Earth's orbit using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C38). The rocket started from Indic spaceport – SDSC (the Satish Dhawan Space Center SDSC) at 5:59 CET. The SDSC is located on the Sri Charikota Island in the Bay of Bengal. The Czech satellite was launched on a polar track up to 505 km and was given a speed of 7 km / s. Along with the VZLUSAT-1 satellite, another 29 nanosatellites were launched from 14 countries.
VZLUSAT-1 size 20 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm and weighing 2 kg is the first Czech technological satellite. Its mission is to verify new products and technologies on Earth's orbit. The satellite was developed by the Czech Aerospace Research and Test Centre (VZLU) in cooperation with Czech companies and universities.
The nanosatellite was built on the standardized CubeSat platform. The VZLUSAT-1 technology nanotube carries three experiments: a miniaturized X-ray telescope, a new type of composite material for cosmic radiation shielding, and a FIPEX instrument for measuring oxygen concentration in a thermosphere.
The development of miniaturized X-ray telescopes was led by Rigaku Innovative Technologies Europe together with HVM PLASMA and the Institute of Technical and Experimental Physics of the Czech Technical University in Prague. The composite material for radiation shielding was developed by the company 5M together with the TTS company. Sensors from Innovative Sensor Technology company are used to measure the properties of this material. The Department of Applied Electronics and Telecommunications of the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen participates in the satellite control using a terrestrial radio station. The main integrator of the VZLU satellite cooperated also with students from both universities.
The FIPEX scientific instrument is part of the international mission QB50, which has launched a constellation of 50 nanosatellites from around the world. The International Mission QB50 is supported by the European Commission through the 7th EU Framework Program.
The development and launch of the satellite is funded by the Czech Republic's Technology Agency under the Alfa program (projects TA03011329 and TA04011295), followed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade through the institutional support of the VZLU. About one-third of the funding comes from the company's own resources, which are the co-participants of the project.
The lifetime of the satellite is estimated at two years. During this time it will be possible to carry out the above mentioned experiments and the verification of new technologies in the cosmos. Whether the nanosatellite is fully functional after the launch, researchers will know in a few days. The project VZLUSAT-1 is an example of successful cooperation between Czech research organizations and industry. Participation in the QB50 mission contributes to the involvement of the Czech Republic in international space activities.