The rector of UTM, PhD prof. Viorel BOSTAN, and Valentin ILCO, researcher at the National Center for Space Technologies, represent the Technical University of Moldova at the world’s largest meeting of space professionals – the 70th International Congress of Astronautics (IAC), held during October 19-25, 2019, in Washington DC.
On the second day of the forum, October 22nd, the agenda included a presentation at the JAXA booth with the theme “KiboCUBE Joint Event of UNOOSA and JAXA”, which reflected the collaboration between the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs – UNOOSA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on using ISS KiboLancer to launch CubeSat nanosatellites.
During the event, Ms. Simonetta Di Pippo – director of UNOOSA, and Mr. Hiroshi Yamakawa – director of JAXA, stressed that the KiboCUBE Program, which concluded its fifth round of applications this year, offers the opportunity to develop a 1U cube satellite to institutions in developing countries, so that it would be launched from the International Space Station (ISS) using the Japanese experimental module KiboCUBE. The first CubeSat developed within the program by the University of Nairobi was deployed from ISS on May 11th, 2018 as the first Kenyan satellite and the first object launched in space with the support and under the auspices of the United Nations. The representatives of the winners of this program, Ms. Luis Zea, co-director, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, winner of the 2nd stage of KiboCUBE, and Viorel Bostan, rector, Technical University of Moldova, winner of the 4th round of KiboCUBE, provided information on KiboCUBE’s achievements and future – an example of good practice in the triangular relationship between UNOOSA, JAXA and the participants in the program.
In his speech, PhD prof. Viorel Bostan referred to the activity of the National Center for Space Technologies within the UTM, selected for the fourth round of the KiboCUBE Program for the launch, in 2020, of the TUMnanoSAT nanosatellite from the International Space Station (ISS) with the help of the Japanese experimental module KiboCUBE. Established in 2012, it is the only space research center in the Republic of Moldova, with six laboratories, an astronomical observatory and two fully functional ground stations located at a distance of 200 km. The team of the Center includes 35 people directly involved in the elaboration-research-implementation activities (doctoral students, masters, students from the bachelor’s degree cycle) and over 60 students – in the satellite communication process. In the objectives chapter, the rector mentioned the demonstration and validation of the technology for nano / microwire sensors in the spatial application; developing the communication protocol “satellite-ground station” with different levels of access through a network of ground stations; highlighting the scientific potential of the institutions of higher education in the Republic of Moldova; encouraging young people to express their interest in aerospace technologies and, respectively, the continuous and multidisciplinary training of specialists and students at the highest level. In terms of objectives, the rector underlined the involvement in national and international projects in consortium with different partners for common missions; extension of the nanosatellite models with 1.5U, 3U models for different missions; designing various satellite modules for the research nanosensors in space conditions; extension of the ground infrastructure by connecting other stations or joining the ground station network for data decoding and further promoting of space technologies in the Republic of Moldova within a comprehensive space education program.
The International Congress of Astronautics IAC 2019 includes in its agenda more than 2000 papers in 181 technical sessions and 360 presentations on the latest advances in the study of space. The congress is held every year since 1950. Being global and multidisciplinary, it covers all areas and topics related to space, providing the latest information in the field and contributing to the creation of new connections and possible partnerships. Through the IAC, over 40 administrative and technical committees support the International Astronautical Federation in its mission to advance our knowledge of space and to encourage the development of space study through international cooperation. The theme of this year’s event is “Space: the power of the past, the promise of the future”. This edition marks 50 years since Man walked on the Moon and celebrates, at the same time, the successes in space exploration and the partnerships that had been built.