Sri Lanka today (18) entered the global space age by successfully launching its first satellite ‘Ravana 1’ into space.
‘Ravana 1’ is part of the project ‘BIRDS’ which is led by the Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan. It has been designed to help countries to build their first satellite with the assistance of the United Nations. This is the third phase of the ‘BIRDS’ project. Along with Sri Lanka, Nepal and Japan also launched their satellites into space on the same day.
The satellite was designed and built by Tharindu Dayaratne and Dulani Chamika, two Sri Lankan engineers from the Arthur C. Clarke Institute, Moratuwa at the Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan.
‘Ravana 1’ is expected to fulfill five missions including the capturing of pictures of Sri Lanka and its surrounding regions.
The satellite measuring 11.3 centimetres (cm) into 10 cm into 10 cm, and weighing around 1.05 kilograms is expected to orbit 400 kilometres away from earth. It will have a minimum lifespan of one and half years.
According to the official website of the project, BIRDS-3 satellites were launched by the Antares rocket, which will carry the Cygnus cargo spacecraft. The satellites were taken to the International Space Station as cargo. The Sri Lankan satellite was launched at 2.16 a.m.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) twitter handle reported that the Northrop Grumman Antares rocket and its unmanned Cygnus spacecraft were launched into space from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s East Shore, kicking off a two-day voyage to the space station.