ESTCube-2 is a technology demonstration mission for deorbiting technology plasma brake, the interplanetary propulsion system, electric solar wind sail and advanced satellite subsystem solutions.
Have you noticed how fast space technology is developing? Mankind visited the Moon for the first time just half a century ago and now we want to establish human settlement on Mars. Discovering the depths of deep space and asteroid mining are no longer science fiction – this is the reality in our nearest future. The global race in space technology development has started and the best thing is that the ESTCube team are part of it.
The first ever satellite made in Estonia, ESTCube-1, was launched into space in 2013. Launching the satellite was successful and the team were able to test many different systems on ESTCube-1 and take beautiful images of the Earth. ESTCube-1 made Estonia a real spacefaring nation. But as often happens with remote and innovative space technology, not everything turns out as expected. ESTCube team´s main goal, to test the electric solar wind sail (E-sail) that could make space travel cost-effective and faster, and could even help to reduce the amount of space debris, did not succeed as expected. One part of the satellite did not survive the harsh vibrations during the launch of the rocket – a problem that is currently being solved by ESTCube E-sail experiment team. Therefore, theyneed to try again and raise the bar even higher.
At the moment, they are building ESTCube-2, a CubeSat three times the size of ESTCube-1, that will be sent to low Earth orbit. This is perfect for testing a 300 m long E-sail wire, or so-called tether. The revolutionary E-sail can give the satellite a push to move faster in the Solar System, but can also work as a brake in the Earth’s magnetosphere. On ESTCube-2 they will use the E-sail as a plasma brake that can bring the satellite down faster and therefore help to mitigate the space debris.
ESTCube team are planning to complete ESTCube-2 in 2018 and launch it into space in 2019. Their timeline is tight and they want to have the satellite completely finished in honour of the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia. If you want to support them you can do it via Hooandja project.
But if you want to know somethnig more you can participate in their summer camps also. There is an ESTCube project for summer camps and other activities, to give young people the opportunity to get involved on space projects.
If you are intrested in participating in their team, you should try, because the Estonian student satellite team is always accepting new members from a wide range of fields. Anyone who shares their vision and is willing to contribute can find a task on their team. If you are interested in joining ESTCube team, fill in the form on their homepage. And after that be prepared to meet them.