The KITSUNE Nano Satellite, designed and developed through a five-partite international collaborative project, with the Arthur C Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies (ACCIMT) as one partner, was successfully deployed into its orbit from the International Space Station (ISS) on the 24th of March 2022. The orbital deployment of the satellite took place at around at 17.41 Sri Lanka time. The ACCIMT organized a live video-viewing session of the event, where a live video feed on the deployment of the satellite from the ISS at an altitude of approximately 400km above the earth, which was channeled through the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), was displayed at the auditorium of ACCIMT. This was preceded by a brief presentation on the ACCIMT’s Nanosatellite development program.
Space Technology has been recognized in the successive policy and strategy documents of the Science and Technology sector as a core backbone technology vital for enhancing the country’s overall national capabilities in advanced technologies, and as an important enabler-technology in the country’s growth in advanced-technology led knowledge-based economic activity. Development of Nano-satellites is the main strategy that has been adopted by the ACCIMT in order to acquire and develop Sri Lanka’s national capacity in this domain of advanced technology.
Kitsune is the second Nano-satellite development project that ACCIMT was involved in, having launched its first Nano-satellite Raavana-1, in collaboration with the Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech), Japan, in June 2019. Kitsune was designed and developed by Kyutech (nodal partner) and four other partners, namely, Nanyang University, Singapore, Addnics Corporation, Japan, Harada Seiki Corporatin, Japan and the ACCIMT.
The satellite has a number of research and experimental missions: 5-meter resolution colour imaging of the earth, store and forward transmission of data received from Ground Sensor Terminals mainly for IoT applications, in-orbit testing of the communication module based on LoRa modulation technique, testing of a C-band communication transceiver, total electron content measurement of the Ionosphere, and testing of the Kyutech-standard 2U Satellite Bus system being the most significant ones.
It is significant that the ACCIMT became a partner of this project with no financial commitment, purely in exchange of the services of the ACCIMT’s Engineers in the design and development activities of the satellite. The project provided a highly valuable opportunity for further enhancing the competencies of Sri Lankan Engineers in the design, development and testing of Nano-satellites, which could best happen in the form of such collaborative activities with technology partners from advanced space-faring nations. In addition, being a partner to this project enabled ACCIMT to have full access to the imagery, store-and-forward transmission, and other research and experimental services that would be provided by the satellite.
The ACCIMT’s project team involved in the project includes Eng. Sanath Panawennage, the Director General & CEO, who led the Sri Lankan project team having initiated this collaborative opportunity, Eng. Ms Kamani Ediriweera DDG-TO, Eng. Kavindra Jayawardene Director (Communications Engineering Division), Eng. Tharindu Dayaratne, who made a major contribution in the communication and other subsystems and payloads, and Eng. Kaveendra Sampath.
The live video streaming session was attended by an audience that included Ms. Deepa Liyanage, Secretary to the State Ministry of Skills Development Vocational Education Research and Innovation, Snr. Prof. Ranjith Premalal De Silva, Vice Chancellor UNIVOTEC, and Eng. Sanath Panawennage, Director General & CEO, ACCIMT.