Space: after the MIR-SAT1 adventure, Maurice dreams big

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From our correspondent in Port-Louis,

On the roof of the Forest Side Girls State College, now Forest Side Academy, students rediscover the antenna installed to pick up signals from MIR-SAT1. To follow the passage of the nanosatellite in the region at 410 meters above sea level, everything happens here in the first place.

This part of the satellite ecosystem holds no secrets for Chelsea Lee Kwee Hin. ” The antenna consists of three parts. There are UHF and VHF, ultra high frequency and very high frequency, the ultra high frequency detects the MIRSAT1. And the third part of the antenna is the box that is connected to a computer. The equipment used to capture the data is rudimentary, explains their teacher, Vickram Mungul: “ We decided to make it in plastic and aluminum tubes to reduce the cost, so that it would be within everyone’s reach to make one at home. »

On the ground, in the classroom, other equipment is needed: two computers with their own software and another box equipped with electronic modules. The students had fun not only capturing the passage of MIR-SAT1, but also other signals such as those from the American Agency for Oceanic and Atmospheric Observation satellite, which emits specific signals.

The reception of the data transmitted and the photos taken by MIR-SAT1 takes place in the ground station, in Ébène. The place is equipped with five screens and a cabin where a replica of the MIR-SAT1 is displayed. When we meet Wednesday, April 20, aerospace engineer Zyaad Soreefan, in charge of the station, he feels a pang in his heart. Because the nanosatellite hasn’t been emitting signals for 24 hours. It left its orbit to enter the Earth’s atmosphere and decomposed. All this was planned, because the lifespan of a nanosatellite is limited.

To listen also: Space: the Mauritius nanosatellite is in orbit

Is this then the end of the adventure? ” No wayreplies Zyaad Soreefan. We have a ground station. We are working with friendly countries to capture data from other satellites “. ” There’s a void in this part of the Indian Ocean, continues the aerospace engineer, satellite operators cannot pick up data in this part. Through our ground station they can receive data for their satellites. »

With this program, Maurice was able to acquire some skills in the club of satellite operators. Dr. Kaviraj Sukon, president of the Mauritius Research and Innovation Council, which spearheaded the project, is interested in the course of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center in Dubai. ” We were there to better understand how they were able to acquire this technology to the point that they are building their own satellite. They started like Mauritius with the nanosatellite. They went through other stages, before arriving at larger satellites like the 12U that we are making ourselves. »

With such a satellite called 12U, Mauritius hopes to be able to improve its weather forecasts and surveillance of the maritime area.

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