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June 20, 2014 12:27 pm

Israeli Students’ Nanosatellite Launched Into Space

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The Duchifat-1 nanosatellite, which was designed and built by Herzliya Science Center high school students. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. Israel successfully launched its first nanosatellite into space Thursday night, from the Yasny Airbase in Russia, along with 36 other civilian satellites sponsored by various countries.

The Duchifat-1 nanosatellite was designed and built by Herzliya Science Center high school students, in a project partially sponsored by the Israel Space Agency and the Herzliya Municipality.

The 860-gram (1.9 pound) cube-shaped satellite, which is 10 centimeters (3.9 inches) long in each dimension, was named for Israel’s national bird, the hoopoe (“duchifat” in Hebrew).

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The satellite was designed to assist travelers and hikers who lose their way in area where there is no regular cellular reception, enabling them to send a distress call to the satellite from any communication device. The satellite will broadcast a signal back to a control center set up in Herzliya, identifying the stranded individuals’ location.

Duchifat-1 is only the second student-built nanosatellite in the world to successfully enter orbit. It was preceded by a NASA-sponsored student satellite launched from the United States in January.

“This launch signifies the beginning of the nanosatellite age in Israel,” Science and Technology Minister Yaakov Peri said Thursday.

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