Published: Thursday March 12, 2009 MYT 3:12:00 PM
RazakSAT launch on April 21
SHAH ALAM: After years of postponement, RazakSAT, Malaysia's first remote sensing satellite, will be blasted into space from Kwajalein Island on April 21.
The island is part of the Marshall Islands leased to the United States.
Science, Technology and Innovation Deputy Minister Fadilah Yusof said the satellite was scheduled to be flown via a Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) C130 aircraft from Subang to the Bucholz Army Airfield, Kwajalein on March 21.
"The aircraft carrying the satellite will be making temporary stops in Kota Kinabalu and Guam during the journey to Kwajalein," he told a press conference at the Astronautic Technology (M) Sdn Bhd (ATSB) near here on Thursday.
RazakSAT, which is also Malaysia's second low orbit microsatellite, was developed through a colloboration of ATSB with Satrec Initiative Ltd of South Korea.
The 180kg satellite is expected to be carried into space on a Falcon One rocket owned by United States' Space Exploration Technology (SpaceX) from Kwajalein.
The 2.5mm Medium Sized Aperture Camera on the satellite is expected to provide high resolution images of Malaysia that can be applied to land management, resource development and conservation, forestry, fish migration and security.
According to Fadilah, RazakSAT, also the nation's first observatory satellite, would be launched to an orbital location specifically for Malaysia, to be known as the Equatorial Orbit.
He said the orbital location would enable observation to be made on the earth surface more often, as compared to other observatory satelites, that is, five to six times daily, during daylight.
"Compared to TiongSAT1, which was launched in 2006 and which was more experimental in nature, RazakSAT is considered a functional satellite in monitoring the earth's surface and environment," said Fadilah, adding that the satellite was built at a total cost of RM150 million.
Fadilah said for the first time, together with RazakSAT, two other satellites meant for educational purposes CubeSAT and InnoSAT would also be launched.
Meanwhile, Fadilah said Malaysia had the necessary expertise and capacity to develop its own satellite for sale to other countries.
"There is already a demand from countries like Iran to purchase satellites developed by ATSb," he added. - Bernama