Publish Date: 09.09.2020

Category: News from the University

After several attempts, when the launch of the Vega rocket was prevented by Covid-19 and weather conditions, the Slovenian satellites Nemo HD and Trisat have finally flown off into space. This achievement is highly important for the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering, University of Ljubljana (UL NTF).

An important part in the launch of the satellite Nemo HD was played by the Director of the Centre of Excellence Vesolje-SI (Space-SI) and professor at UL NTF Prof. Dr Tomaž Rodič, and by UL NTF alumnus and colleague at the Centre of Excellence Vesolje-SI Dr Martin Lamut. The Nemo HD satellite was developed at the Centre of Excellence Vesolje-SI. Dr Rodič and Dr Lamut arrived in French Guiana back in May, as the launch was originally planned for the end of that month. When the launch was postponed due to the weather, Dr Rodič and Dr Lamut removed some sensitive parts from the Nemo HD microsatellite and hooked it up to the support equipment for maintaining the safe status of subsystems during the wait. On 3 September 2020 they were both there when conditions finally allowed for a launch. “After many years of preparations and numerous unsuccessful attempts, I had almost become apathetic. But in the end the opportunity appeared so unexpectedly and astonishingly quickly. It all went unbelievably smoothly. Three minutes after ignition, the satellite was already in space. We relaxed a bit during the undisturbed ballistic phase, then in the fortieth minute came the smooth separation from the carrying structure,” said Dr Rodič for STA (you can read more in the Slovenian article Uspešna izstrelitev rakete s prvima slovenskima satelitoma/Successful launch of rocket with first two Slovenian satellites, STA, 3 September 2020). Using the Nemo HD satellite it will be possible to monitor the Earth interactively. This means that when it passes over the terrestrial station, images from the satellite can be received in real time. It will perform all the classic tasks of remote observation of towns, agricultural and forest areas and invasive plant species.

In cooperation with the company SkyLabs d.o.o. the Trisat satellite was developed entirely at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science of the University of Maribor (UM FERI). The head of the Trisat project, Asst. Prof. Dr Iztok Kramberger of UM FERI said that they were happy when the launch succeeded, but now the real work begins. Trisat is intended for testing the robustness of new space electronics. Its images offer the promise of advances in monitoring the pollution of sea surfaces with oil slicks or plastic, determining the flashpoints of major fires and detecting volcanic ash in the upper layers of the atmosphere for the needs of the aviation industry.