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Coinis takes part in the first Montenegrin space program!
Remember Felix Baumgartner and his jump from the edge of space? Remember the view from 38,969.3 meters (135,000 feet) altitude?
You sure do. So does the group of young people from Montenegro – Nina, Nikola, and Filip (Montenegro Space Research) who were fascinated with that accomplishment. Today, they started working on an exciting project consisting of three stages. The first should send a CubeSat device to the same altitude to perform some interesting measurements and take several cool photos.
The second stage -“Luča 1”- aims to bring a payload to an even higher altitude, the so-called Kármán’s line – 100 km (62 miles) or to get close to it. And in the last, third stage, they hope to send the payload into orbit from that same altitude – and in that case, it would become the first Montenegrin satellite. And all of that with a balloon!
Yes, you heard it well! Balloons, such as weather balloons, have been used for years to send objects to higher altitudes; however, unlike fuel-powered rockets, which spend most of their fuel just to leave Earth’s atmosphere. Weather balloon launches are also more eco-friendly as they generate less air pollution, which means cleaner skies for everyone!
CubeSats are a miniaturized satellite class based around a form factor of 10 cm cubes. These satellites have a mass of no more than 2 kg per unit. And they often use commercial off-the-shelf components for their electronics and structure.
These small devices were initially designed to assist with remote sensing and communications, but space agencies now use them as emissaries on interplanetary journeys! In 2018, NASA deployed a pair of CubeSats on a mission to Mars (Mars Cube One – MarCO). Since then, CubeSats have been in consideration for missions to the Moon and Jupiter.
In the first phase, a cube is attached to the balloon by a rope over a parachute. Inside this cube is the following equipment:
The CubeSat will return to Earth after collecting the appropriate data. Once it reaches a certain altitude, it should release a parachute which should help it to descend slowly and safely back to the surface.
Since this way of launching is very delicate and highly dependent on weather conditions, we only know that it should be held between the 3rd and the 9th of October, probably from a village called Viš near Danilovgrad. Still, the location can also vary due to weather conditions.
No, not technically. To become a satellite, a payload must be placed in orbit. That requires the payload to reach very high speeds, which is impossible with a balloon. However, a balloon can bring a lightweight rocket to a high altitude, from which the payload can be released into orbit. This approach is much cheaper than traditional satellite launch methods, and it may revolutionize the satellite industry. We leave that for stage three.
The main problem with this way of launching is that heavy weight can not go very high using a balloon-based launch system, so sending a man to orbit or the Moon this way is theoretically impossible. But for launching a small satellite, a micro or nanosatellite – this should be a convenient, cheap, and effective way to go.
Coinis is currently supporting this project through funding, media campaign support, and its continuous efforts to help young people and the local community. We know this is a very ambitious and challenging project, both technically and logistically, so It is essential to mention that it may be necessary to repeat each phase several times before. Hopefully, all the goals are achieved.
Nevertheless, we truly admire these young people in pursuing their dreams and we are sure this is just the beginning of their best!
So, wish us all luck!
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