The first Guatemalan satellite will be released into space
Quetzal-1, the first Guatemalan satellite, developed by students, teachers, researchers, and graduates of the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG), will be launched into orbit next Tuesday, April 28, at 09:00 a.m. m. (Guatemala time). The CubeSat 1U satellite will be released from the Kibo module of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and communication with it is expected to be achieved from the Control Center, located at UVG, at the time it orbits near Guatemala.
UVG will broadcast the preview of the satellite’s release on their social networks with interviews with team members. During the interviews, the lessons learned, achievements, challenges and stories that these six years of work have left will be discussed. The release can be seen in a live broadcast on JAXA’s official YouTube channel.
This project is one of the efforts of the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala to put science at the service of society. The competencies developed and put into practice by UVG students, graduates and researchers promote the local development of technologies, research and ventures with a view to creating a positive impact in the country.
“Personally, the most enriching aspect of this project is human capital because we are developing the next generation of engineers in the country and this will change history,” says Dr. Luis Zea, co-director of the project.
More than 100 people collaborated in this project, including students, teachers, engineers, and graduates of mechanical engineering, industrial mechanics, mechatronics, electronics, computing, and physics. The project seeks to train in Guatemala the human resources trained to develop and operate this type of satellites. The complexity of its development lies in the fact that more than 70% of the modules were developed at UVG by students and graduates.
A learning opportunity
This project is for educational, research and capacity building purposes for students of all levels. Since 2016, the project has been part of UVG’s agenda of taking knowledge outside the University with talks, lessons and presentations on the subject to students at the secondary and primary levels.
This event and the theme of the space is part of the lessons that UVG offers to all educational centres to work during this period of suspension of classroom classes. Thus, UVG also seeks to motivate more children and young people to study science and engineering programs.
Transfer to space
The first Guatemalan satellite was transferred from Earth to the International Space Station (ISS) in the Dragon-powered capsule by the SpaceX-based Falcon 9 rocket on March 6, 2020, and was stored until programming of the launch.
This is the second satellite that, thanks to the support of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), will be launched into space through the KiboCube program.