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Latvia's first satellite to be launched into orbit at end-2011 or beginning of 2012


Latvia's first satellite "Venta-1" will be launched into orbit with Indian carrier rocket at the end of this year or with Russian carrier rocket at the beginning of 2012.

Latvia's first satellite "Venta-1" will be launched into orbit with Indian carrier rocket at the end of this year or with Russian carrier rocket at the beginning of 2012, Saeima member Dana Reizniece (Union of Greens and Farmers) told reporters today.

At the moment, Lithuania and Estonia are also working on their own satellites. However, Latvia will most likely be the first one to launch its satellite. "Venta-1" will differ from other Baltic satellites in size and weight. The Latvian satellite will weigh 7.5 kilograms, the Lithuanian - two to three kilograms, whilst the Estonian - one kilogram.

"Venta-1" is designed for implementation of Automatic Identification System (AIS) and a system of satellites, developed by German space technologies company "OHB-System AG" in navigation. The University of Bremen, Ventspils University College and Ventspils High Technology Park also participate in the project.

University of Bremen lecturer and "OHB Technology AG" scientist, Indulis Kalnins, informed that the satellite's main cargo will be AIS receiver. This system will provide real-time data about navigation throughout the world.

The Swedish company "Microtec AAT" will have a separate module on "Venta-1" to test the "Plug-And-Play" technology, which was developed for the U.S. military needs.

The satellite's weight and shape has changed over the course of its development. It was intended to be smaller, however, now, every element has a backup, and the satellite will remain functional even if some elements cease to work, emphasized Kalnins.

The satellite's signals will be picked up by three stations - Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Center in Irbene, a back up station in Bremen, and a station in South Tyrol, Italy.

Latvian Academy of Sciences President Juris Ekmanis emphasized the importance of Latvia's first satellite and added that this is certainly an important day for Latvia. "From now on, space technologies will definitely develop in Latvia," added Ekmanis.

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