Russia successfully launches first Catalan satellite into space

Published: Monday March 22, 2021 9:10 a.m.

Russia launched the first nanosatellite of the Generalitat of Catalonia in the second attempt using a Soyuz 2.1a carrier rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome (Kazakhstan).

The launch, originally scheduled for last Saturday and postponed until the last minute due to a “voltage surge” in the carrier’s systems, was carried out at 9:07 a.m. Moscow time (7:07 a.m. Spanish Peninsula time) and was broadcast in direct by Roscomos, the Russian space agency.

The nanosatellite, dubbed “Enxaneta”, is the first of two small satellites that the Catalan government plans to put into orbit to improve Catalonia’s connectivity and Earth observation.

The launch of the device is part of Catalonia’s New Space strategy, which aims to boost the aerospace sector. The Generalitat hopes that this growing sector will generate 1,200 jobs over the next 4 years and a turnover of 280 million euros.

Both the “ Enxaneta ” and a second device to be launched at the end of this year or at the beginning of 2022, were developed by the companies Open Cosmos and Sateliot, under a contract submitted by the Institut d ‘Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC).

The management and control of these Catalan nanosatellites will be carried out from the ground station located at the Montsec Astronomical Observatory, in Sant Esteve de la Sarga (Lleida).

With the ‘Enxaneta’, which will orbit at low altitude, about 500 kilometers from Earth, the Russian carrier’s “Fragat” accelerator block will put into orbit in the next few hours 37 other satellites from 17 countries, including the Sud- Korean CAS500-1.

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