Uruguay Will Launch Small Satellite By Year-End

The satellite, dubbed Antelsat is a small size model that was developed by students

Uruguay, a nation of 3.3 million people that mixes its agricultural economic tradition with an incipient technology industry, will launch its first satellite into orbit in 2014, to enter the international space market and promote Uruguayan personnel training in the sector.

The satellite, dubbed Antelsat, is a model of reduced dimensions (10x10x20 inches), known as "cubesat" and was developed by students from the Faculty of Engineering of the University of the Republic (Udelar) Professionals and the state telecommunications company Antel.

The idea of creating it emerged in 2006 in the Udelar when a group of teachers asked Professor John Pechiar to build a satellite.

It will orbit about 600 kilometers above Earth

"It's not a crazy idea. There are many precedents of satellites developed at universities around the world", Pechiar told Efe, who coordinates the project from the Udelar.

With great enthusiasm and without budget, engineering students got to work developing balloons probe, an object that has many elements in common with the satellite.

"The balloon probe goes to more than 30 thousand meters of altitude, in the stratosphere, and leads a hanging team made by students". As a satellite, one long it and cannot fail, you can't go to 'change the batteries'. If something goes wrong, just have to survive", he explained.

In 2014, the South American country will be introduced in the international space market

The balloons tests were developed between 2007 and 2010, as a way of learning "rather inexpensive and fun", Pechiar joked.

But definitely change the project in 2010 when Antel acknowledged and was interested in it. A year later, an agreement was signed between the faculty and the company, by which Antel financed the project with 537.5 Million Euros.

The satellite weighs about two kilos and is powered through solar panels.

Meanwhile, Maciel said that the satellite "is an important first step" to the beginning of a "greater presence of Uruguay in space" and to work with other countries.

"It's a big step to enter the space industry and generating technology", added Pechiar.
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