Estonia has high hopes for small cube

Apr 9, 2013
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Before the end of the month, Estonia will try to launch its first satellite into orbit and become the latest country to join more than 50 states active outside Earth’s atmosphere.

ESTCube-1, a 10-centimeter (4-inch) cube weighing just over a kilogram (2.2 pounds), is scheduled to be launched 20 April to test solar sail technology, according to the project’s website. Solar sails could help satellites generate their own momentum or act as brakes in the process of bringing a satellite back to Earth, according to

Developed by Estonian university students, ESTCube-1 would also allow researchers to test new mission-control software geared specifically for low-budget nano-satellites.

Image from

The mission’s success would be a big technology coup for the country, boosting its bid for full membership in the European Space Agency by 2015, reports. Officials in Tallinn have also spent the past several years positioning Estonia to becoming a major European IT and tech hub.

In February, Azerbaijan became the most recent space nation from TOL’s coverage region when it sent the Azerspace-1/Africasat-1a telecommunications satellite into orbit.


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Transitions Online

Transitions Online ( is an Internet magazine that covers political, social, cultural, and economic issues in the former communist countries of Europe and Central Asia. The magazine has a strong network of local contributors, who provide valuable insight into events in the region’s 29 countries.
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