For the first time in the history of space research, this month a satellite built by teams of European students who have used the Internet to achieve a unique collaboration will be put into orbit, the fruit of which is a satellite called SSETI Express. The satellite will be put into orbit from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, located about 800 km north of Moscow, on the Russian Kosmos-3M launcher, a small-capacity vehicle used to put small satellites into orbit.
The satellite has been designed and built by 23 teams of European university students under the supervision and logistical support of the Training Department of the European Space Agency. The release date is September 27.
SSETI Express (SSETI is the acronym of the program that has funded this collaboration: Student Space Exploration and Technology Initiative) is a small spaceship, similar in size to a washing machine (approx. 60x60x90 cm). It weighs about 62 kilos.
Inside the spacecraft there are three pico-satellites, all designed by the students, each weighing one kilogram and will start operating once the SSETI Express is in orbit, which represents another advance for the space sector. In addition to acting as a test site for many future designs, including a cold gas behavior monitoring system, SSETI Express will take photos of the Earth and function as a transponder radio.
On the day of the SSETI Express launch into orbit, the European Space Agency organizes an event open to the public at Space Expo (Noordwijk in the Netherlands). The event will feature a live broadcast of the launch in Plesetsk, speeches by specialists, children's activity workshops and interviews. The live images will also be broadcast in various European universities and research centers.