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S'pore's micro-satellite has taken more than 8,000 pictures from space

The New Paper | Darishini Thiyagarajan | Sunday, Apr 27, 2014

SINGAPORE - It took him six years to deliver his third child.

It wasn't a baby, but a satellite.

And when he finally did it, he said it was just as nerve-wrecking as seeing his own children being born.

Three years on, X-SAT -Singapore's first micro-satellite - has made 15,000 cycles around the Earth, which means it travels around the Earth four times each day.

It has been battered by a radiation storm, travelled nearly 700 million km, taken 8,000 photographs and completed 4,400 telecommands - instructions from the base that directs the satellite to turn or take a photograph.

A radiation storm occurs when there is major eruptions on the sun, causing the Earth's atmosphere to distort. During the storm, commands cannot be sent to the satellites.

X-SAT was created by Professor Low Kay Soon, director of the Satellite and Research Centre in Nanyang Technological University (NTU), and his team of 20 staff members and 20 NTU graduates.

The professor is married with two children - a daughter, 18, and son, 16.

He said: "The X-SAT is my third child."

In 2003, Singapore's Defence Science Organisation, offered a partnership to the research centre to explore ideas and space programmes.

CREATION

There were four phases in creating X-SAT. First, there was the engineering phase where the team created the basic industrial prototype.

Then, the functionality phase where the prototype was tested to ensure it would not disintegrate during launch.

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