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Bhutan’s first satellite launched

Bhutan’s first satellite, BHUTAN-1 (10x10x10 CubeSat) was piggybacked into the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with other payload to the International Space Station at 3:42 p.m. yesterday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, USA.

The Minister of Information and Communications, D.N Dhungyel, congratulated the space engineers studying at Kyutech, Japan, for developing the CubeSat BHUTAN-1.

“It’s a proud moment for every Bhutanese to witness the launch and it’s a first of its kind,” the minister added. Meanwhile, the launch took place together with the BIRDS-2 CubeSats of Philippines and Malaysia – MAYA-1 and UiTMST-1. According to the press release issued by MoIC, BHUTAN-1 marks Bhutan’s first step towards development of Bhutan’s Space Science and Technology Program, which is a vision of His Majesty the King.

BHUTAN-1 has been reportedly developed by Bhutanese engineers at the Kyushu Institute of Technology as part of their Master’s Degree under the BIRDS-2 Project. The BIRDS Project is a cross-border interdisciplinary satellite project for non-space faring countries supported by Japan. The BIRDS-2 CubeSats was launched with other payloads that the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is delivering to the ISS which include research hardware, crew supplies and spare parts for the ISS.

According to the press release, BHUTAN-1 would remain on the ISS and will be released into low earth orbit with the other CubeSats sometime second and third week of August 2018. Once released BHUTAN-1 will become operational and can be tracked from the ground station in MoIC.

Tshering from Thimphu