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Nanosatellite mission accomplished

Representation of the Serpens satellite: six months in orbit

Serpens Representation of the Serpens satellite: six months in orbitSerpens 

Brazilian nanosatellite Serpens completed its space mission according to plan and disintegrated in the atmosphere on March 27, 2016, after orbiting in space for six months. Developed by the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB) in partnership with professors and students from federal research universities and institutes, the spacecraft orbited Earth more than 3,000 times as it collected and transmitted environmental data. At a cost of R$800,000, this satellite, measuring 10 x 10 x 30 cm, is the first in a family of the Space System for Conducting Research and Experiments with Nanosatellites (also abbreviated as Serpens), with AEB funding (see Pesquisa FAPESP Issue nº 219). According to professor Chantal Cappelletti, project coordinator at the University of Brasília (UnB), the craft was a highly worthwhile teaching tool. “Building a nanosatellite is an experience that helps students broaden their horizons,” she says, according to the AEB site. In addition to UnB students, students from the federal universities of the ABC, Santa Catarina and Minas Gerais, and from the Fluminense Federal Institute (IFF), assisted in developing the satellite that was taken to the International Space Station in August 2016.