5 November 2012. Austria’s first satellite was transported from Graz to India, where it will be launched in December aboard an Indian carrier rocket. TUGSAT-1 is part of the international mission BRITE (Bright Target Explorer) which will be the world’s first nano-satellite constellation in orbit.
With the launch of its own satellite in December 2012, Austria will join the group of “space faring nations”. Researchers and students of the Graz University of Technology built and tested the first Austrian nano-satellite TUGSAT-1, for its part of the BRITE mission. This mission will consist of a total of six satellites from Austria, Poland and Canada. The mission objective is to collect in orbit data on variations in brightness of certain stars. Observed over a long period of time, the subtle pulsation of stars allows for conclusions to be drawn on their structure, their chemical composition and their age. The scientists attempt to clarify contradictions in the origin of stars and to get closer to understanding the mystery of the origin of the Universe. The intensive involvement of young scientists is a unique aspect of TUGSAT-1. Students are involved in all phases of the project, from construction to test to the operation of the satellite.