Credit: New Strait Times

Local aerospace technology startup Independence X Aerospace made history by developing the tiniest operational satellite in orbit.

Renowned space industry professionals have approved the company’s Femto-class GerhanaSAT satellite at the International Astronautical Congress in Paris, France.

The GerhanaSAT is “the smallest satellite in the world that I have seen so far,” according to Dr. Patrick Castillan and Dr. Alan Gleyzes, officials from the French Space Agency (CNES).

Compared to the Italian Delta Space satellite, PocketQube, which has a cube edge length of 50mm, Independence X Aerospace’s micro satellite is just 30mm long.

“Our satellite has two versions, comprised of the (SV) Space Version, measuring 30mm, while the (CV) Consumer Version measures 32mm of cube edge length. We have demonstrated a fully functioning satellite in front of a live audience,” said Independence X Aerospace’s chief executive officer, chief technology officer and founder, Izmir Yamin.

He claimed that IoT communications, drone telemetry and telecommand, and Walkie-talkie speech may all be conducted via the GerhanaSAT satellite. In addition, the agriculture industry, UAV and unmanned operators, fleet management, etc. can use the satellite.

“The satellite can remain in orbit for two years, and we can launch as constellation to get continuous communication or single satellite with intermittent communication,” explained Izmir.

At least 520 satellite orders totalling more than US$1 million (RM4.5 million) have been placed with Independence X Aerospace to date for both types and orders from several nations, mostly from Europe and the US as well as certain regions of the Middle East and Africa.

“For the first time in Malaysia, we are exporting Malaysian-made space tech products. Our company always works towards creating new and cutting-edge products, and less towards following trends. We aim to be the pioneers in space technology. Femto-satellite, Re-entry Capsule Vehicle, and Net-Zero Carbon Launch Vehicle,” he said.

A Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) for a commercial space contract was also inked during the expo by the business and SpaceBorn United B.V. of the Netherlands. The development and provision of the Space Re-entry Vehicle (MERCAP, Microgravity Experiment Re-entry Capsule) for use in orbit by European Space Bio-Technology R&D is the responsibility of Independence-X. The MERCAP is powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

The European Space Industry, Frontier Aerospace, Asgardia, the Malaysian Embassy in France, and MIDA (Malaysian Investment Development Authority) were present at the signing ceremony event.

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