Peru to launch its first nanosatellite into space by 2010

Peru’s National Engineering University, or UNI, will launch the Andean country’s first nanosatellite into space in November 2010, according to state news agency Andina.

The solar-powered “Cube sat” is no larger than a 10-square centimeter cube, and is a free flying vehicle capable of performing inspection and viewing missions from space, Andina reported Tuesday. It was manufactured using applied spatial technology and aluminum capable of resisting extreme temperatures, ranging from -40°C to 100°C, or to -40°F to 212°F.

The photographs it will take of the earth will be used by scientists for the study of forests and climate, and well as archeology.

“Nanotechnology demonstrates how, with little money and much intelligence, we can make changes on this planet,” said Doris Rojas, the Director of UNI’s Information Technology and Communications Center. “With this (nanosatellite), we will be able to carry out more precise studies.”

Because Peru is not equipped with a launch pad, the 2.2-pound nanosat will most likely be launched into space by Russia’s Kursk State Technical University.

Peru’s satellite has been dubbed “Chasqui I,” in reference to the agile and highly-trained runners that delivered messages throughout the Inca Empire. These messengers were dispatched along thousands of miles, along roads and rope bridges.

The $200,000 satellite is expected to completely orbit the earth in one hour, and to last 2 months in space.

Grants from Taiwan, Korea and Germany have made the project possible, reported Andina.

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