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University builds first all-Swiss satellite, chooses Isro for launch

Press Trust Of India  |  Lausanne 

Students here have built the first all-Swiss cube satellite to study the upper atmosphere and test low-cost positioning system and have turned to India’s Isro to put it in orbit.

Built by students at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), the Cubesat — named as the SwissCube — weighs less than a kilogram and is equipped with a mini telescope besides over 1,000 components.

Initially, the satellite was to be launched by an European rocket which ran into delays prompting EPFL to opt for Isro which offered a “reasonable” deal.

The satellite is designed to take photos of the “airglow” — the faint bands of green and mauve light caused by high-energy radiation from the sun colliding with atoms and molecules in the upper atmosphere.

“SwissCube was delivered to Isro earlier this month and would be launched by its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) — C14 — next month,” senior EPFL scientist Anton Ivanov told a group of visiting Indian journalists here.

SwissCube is not only small in size, but also low cost, having been put together from commercially available parts.

“The entire project, including the launch fee, cost us ¤300,000 and a major portion was spent on allowances to students who worked after completing their semesters,” Muriel Noca, Project Manager of SwissCube, told reporters.

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First Published: Wed, August 26 2009. 00:41 IST