Slovakia’s first satellite fatally crippled by radiation

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Slovakia’s first satellite fatally crippled by radiation

14. 07. 2017 12:32

Although commands sent to the skCUBE satellite are still being received by the device, it looks unable to restore its functions and its mission is effectively over. "In our laboratory, we're working with the development prototype of the satellite, and we're trying to simulate the same conditions to emulate the same problem as its twin presently in orbit. We're unsure of how long it will take," said the chief software developer for the satellite Slavomír Petrík, to Pravda on Tuesday.

The Slovak Organisation for Space Activities (SOSA) has deemed radiation damage to the unit's onboard computer as being the most likely cause of the problem. The team discovered the failure on July 8, when the country's first satellite was crossing through the so-called "South American anomaly", meaning an area with a significantly increased number of dangerous charged particles, capable of interfering with the proper functioning of the circuitry onboard. "Solving this problem could take weeks. But at the same time, the skCUBE team wants to work on evaluating data from experiments that have already taken place", said Jakub Kapuš, head of the project.

Despite the failure, Kapuš reiterated that the primary purpose of the mission was not scientific research, but rather education and to prove the satellite as a concept, for which he feels the mission has been successful.

Gavin Shoebridge, Photo: TASR

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