Today, January 3, at 3:55 p.m. (Catalan time), 'Menut', the second nanosatellite that the Catalan Government will put into orbit as part of the NewSpace Strategy of Catalonia, will take off from the space base at Cape Canaveral, in Florida (USA). The launch will take place aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from the American company SpaceX. The launch can be followed live via the website https://politiquesdigitals.gencat.cat/menut, where the countdown has already been activated.
Promoted by the Government of Catalonia and the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC), 'Menut' is an Earth observation satellite equipped with a state-of-the-art camera to capture images of the Earth, which will contribute to face local and global challenges related to the climate emergency, the energy crisis, the management of the territory and of natural resources and catastrophes.
The name 'Menut' was coined by the boys and girls of Catalonia, and it has been designed and developed by the Catalan company Open Cosmos, which will also operate the satellite while it is in orbit. Once in space, the nanosatellite will orbit the Earth at an altitude of about 500 km and at a speed of about 8 km/s, and will pass over Catalonia approximately every 5 days.
This nanosatellite will be part of the Open Constellation, a project led by Open Cosmos that is born with the aim of becoming the world's largest global and shared Earth observation satellite infrastructure, with satellite beds provided by space agencies, countries, institutions and companies, to asses key aspects for the climate emergency, the energy crisis, and natural resources and disasters, among others.
The 'Menut' is the second satellite mission of the NewSpace Strategy of Catalonia, designed to take advantage and maximize the opportunities of this sector based on the use of small satellites that orbit at low altitude and the exploitation of its data. Led by the Generalitat de Catalunya, the ultimate goal of the strategy is to project and connect the Catalan space ecosystem with other poles of innovation from around the world to position it on the international game board linked to this new emerging field.
The Institute of Cosmos Sciences of the University of Barcelona (ICCUB), member of the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC) has participated directly in the design, implementation and testing of the secondary load. This is a prototype of a high-performance computer for on-board data processing. It will also test a compression software designed by the company Dapcom. These electronics follow the path initiated by missions such as GAIA or Solar Orbiter.