The select club of the countries that traveled to space has a new member, and is from South America: on March 14, Paraguay’s first satellite entered orbit around the Earth, deployed from the International Space Station (ISS) ), in partnership with a Japanese university.
Launched on February 20 aboard an Antares rocket, on Wallops Island in the USA, the GuaraniSat 1 satellite was built by Adolfo Jara and Aníbraal Mendoza, two Paraguayan engineering students, through an international program that also had the participation of the agency Japanese space agency (JAXA).
Jara and Mendoza have a doctorate and a master’s degree in aerospace engineering at Kyutech, the Kyushu Institute of Technology, Japan, respectively. The institution serves as a facilitator for the Joint Global Multi-Nation Birds Satellite project, BIRDS, which, with government support Japanese and JAXA, encourages the work of engineers from non-space nations, according to a statement released by NASA.
What is GuaraniSat 1?
GuaraniSat 1, whose name derives from the official indigenous language spoken in Paraguay (and in parts of Brazil and Bolivia), is a small spacecraft of the type known as cubosat that, according to NASA, will orbit the planet for up to two years. The satellite is equipped with a camera to obtain images of space, later classified for economic downloads by an AI mechanism.
Jara and Mendoza also installed sensors capable of mapping the occurrence of the triatomine bug, popularly known as “barber”, the insect that causes Chagas disease that infects about 8 million people in Mexico, Central America and South America in the orbital device. It is an underdiagnosed infection and is only effectively treated in its acute phase.
According to NASA, the data obtained by these sensors will be transmitted in real time through a central hub for the satellite, and downloaded to an earth station for the elaboration of a disease risk map, which can be used by health authorities. countries to establish preventive actions.
GuaraniSat 1 went into space through J-SSOD, a Japanese orbital nanosatellite implant on board the ISS. The main administrator of the “Paraguay to Space” project of the Paraguayan Space Agency (AEP), Alejandro Román, said that “the first satellite in our country marks a historic moment”.