European rocket with Catalan university's nanosatellite on board launches successfully

Ariane 6 carries UPC's 3Cat-4 which will study ice, soil, weather and climate and monitor ships

One of the devices carried by the Ariane 6 rocket
One of the devices carried by the Ariane 6 rocket / ESA
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

July 10, 2024 11:01 AM

July 10, 2024 11:02 AM

The European Space Agency's new Ariane 6 rocket launched successfully at 9pm (CET) on Tuesday evening from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. 

On board the maiden voyage are seven payloads, including the 3Cat-4, the fifth nanosatellite created by the NanoSat Lab at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - BarcelonaTech (UPC). 

Once in orbit, 3Cat-4 will focus on observing the Earth, studying weather and climate phenomena from space, as well as locating and monitoring ships to avoid accidents. 

Two members of the team of students who developed the Catalan device were present at the launch in South America. 

The rocket also carried payloads from Germany, Slovakia, France, Portugal, and Galicia, in northwest Spain. 

The satellites were chosen following a call from the European Space Agency, which offered a launch into low Earth orbit for devices with a mass of up to 80kg, and the release of payloads with a combined mass of up to 800kg. 

The purpose of the nanosatellite built at UPC is to measure, using a reflectometer and a microwave radiometer developed by the students, various weather and climate phenomena, and observe the Earth to monitor ice and soil moisture

It also aims to locate and monitor ships to avoid accidents and to study interference in the frequency band that it will use. 

Seven years of work by more than 90 students 

The project was selected seven years ago by the European Space Agency's program 'Fly Your Satellite!', which offers university students the opportunity to design, build and launch their own satellites. 

Since then, the development of the design, construction and testing of the 3Cat-4 has involved more than 90 undergraduate, master's and doctoral students from various degree programs. 

Listen to the podcast below for the story behind Catalonia's first nanosatellite.