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Mauritius deploys first satellite ‘MIR-SAT1’

The satellite was designed by a team of Mauritian engineers and an experienced radio amateur from the Mauritius Amateur Radio Society in collaboration with experts from AAC-Clyde Space UK.

Mauritius has deployed its first satellite, MIR-SAT1, from the Kibo module of the ISS. 

It is the third cube satellite (Cube Sat) deployed through the KiboCUBE programme, and enables teams from developing countries to develop and deploy their CubeSats from the ISS, following Kenya and Guatemala. 

Data sent back from MIR-SAT1 will be used for various purposes, including climate change adaptation, weather forecasting, road traffic management on constricted island road networks, and maritime surveillance of Mauritius’ sprawling Exclusive Economic Zone.
A ground station at the MRIC premises in Ebene, just south of the national capital, will collect the key data and operate the satellite, as well as receive data and telemetry from other satellites.

MIR-SAT1 is equipped with an X-CAM-C3D camera, which will test the transmission of imagery and on-board communication systems, with the collaboration of amateur radio enthusiasts.

The mission will also allow Mauritian authorities and universities to get acquainted with the legal and regulatory considerations and responsibilities related to satellite projects. The satellite is also the first step for Mauritius to initiate its own space programme.

Commenting on the development, Simonetta Di Pippo, Director of UNOOSA,  said: “I am delighted to welcome Mauritius to the community of space-faring nations. With eyes from above, the country will gain powerful data and tools to confront challenges such as rising sea levels and managing ocean resources. UNOOSA and JAXA are proud to have made this achievement possible and stand ready to support the utilisation of this CubeSat and the overall development of the space sector in Mauritius.”

JAXA Director General of Human Spaceflight Technology Directorate, SASAKI Hiroshi, added: “It is my pleasure that JAXA successfully deployed the first satellite of Mauritius, MIR-SAT1 from the Kibo module of the ISS, and we are honoured to play a role for Mauritius joining the space-faring community. We would like to extend our respect to UNOOSA and the MRIC for their efforts. MIR-SAT1 has various significant missions including technology demonstration of image acquisition and communication transmission, to which I wish a great success. This deployment will pave the way for the further endeavour by Mauritius’ space activities. Furthermore, all the experiences gained from MIR-SAT1 will lead to space development in Mauritius. We truly hope to collaborate with Mauritius again in the near future. Congratulations!”

Deepak Balgobin, Minister of Information Technology, Communication and Innovation said: “This CubeSat opens a new historical chapter in technology development in the Republic of Mauritius. We are hopeful that our first satellite in space will serve as a thrust to STEM education and capacity building in Mauritius. We are investing in the economy of the future which will be powered by data and connectivity but also by the creativity of our youth. New avenues are now open to us and the possibility of space as a new socioeconomic pillar is now more real than ever. This is a momentous achievement and reflects the vision of the Prime Minister, Honourable Pravind Jugnauth, of a knowledge-based economy.”