Innovation & Technology

Another Hungarian mini satellite goes to space

The fourth Hungarian satellite, SMOG-1, was placed in one of the launchers of an Italian satellite.

The Soyuz rocket carrying the Italian satellite UNISAT-7 has successfully launched from Baikonur. The 32-kilogram satellite will launch 38 satellites from 18 countries at an altitude of 498 kilometers — including Hungary’s SMOG-1.

The SMOG-1 will be launched tomorrow at noon, and the signal of the mini satellite will be heard in Hungary around 8–9 p.m., project manager András Gschwindt said. The fourth Hungarian satellite was made with the help of university lecturers and students.

The first Hungarian satellite sent into space was Masat-1; after some five years of development, it was launched on February 13, 2012. It worked excellently for almost three years until January 2015, when it reached the denser layers of the atmosphere and was destroyed.

Encouraged by the success, projects for several Hungarian devices began in parallel. The development of the SMOG-P mini satellite started at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics in 2014 and was finally launched from New Zealand on December 6, 2019, after a two-year delay. After successfully completing its mission on September 28, 2020, it burned up in the atmosphere. 

SMOG-P was a global success in several ways. It was the world’s first working PocketQube-sized (5 centimeters cubed) satellite and was designed to last three months but ended up lasting 10. 

ATL-1, twice as large (5 × 5 × 10 centimeters) as SMOG-P, was launched at the same time. Developed entirely by a private company in Hungary with the involvement of the SMOG team, this device also outlasted its planned mission, burning up just last October.

SMOG-1 is the twin sister of SMOG-P and was also developed under the guidance of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics and with the active participation of university students and the support of sponsors. 

The primary function of the satellite is to study human-induced electromagnetic pollution, for example, electrosmog, in the area around the Earth. In addition, an ionizing dosimeter was placed on board to examine the effect of particles from the Sun on electronics. 

A new feature is a braking structure placed under the solar panels that is expected to reduce orbital life of 18–25 years, thus minimizing the amount of time the satellite spends as space debris after completing its active mission.

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