An Indian rocket carrying an Argentine satellite as well as three others was launched to space Wednesday placing all four successfully in orbit.
The Pehuensat-1 is a small, six-kilogramme satellite and was entirely built by the University of Comahue of Argentina, AMSAT (Amateur Satellite Association of Argentina) and the Argentine Association for Space Technology. The Argentine satellite is intended to provide an experimental platform to perform amateur radio experiments between the country's colleges and universities and its messages can be easily screened by radio frequencies. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle rocket climbed into space from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in India making the Pehuensat-1 the first "Spanish language" satellite said Jorge Lassig head of the University's airspace program. Lassig revealed that the satellite "can self diagnose itself and make decisions" based on information from different parameters such as temperature, solar panels, voltage in the panels and other atmospheric conditions. Penhuensat-1 took five years to build involving a team of 17 professors and 44 students from the School of Engineering from the Patagonia Comahue University with campuses in the provinces of Neuquen and Rio Negro. The project was supervised by Argentine born airspace engineer Pablo de Leon who works for NASA in United States. "For us it has been a complete success since the satellite is now in a safe orbit", said De León from his office in Noth Dakota University. Pehuensat-1 has an aluminium structure with solar panels and carries inside the electronics, a computer, two solar batteries and a communications antenna. Twenty minutes after launching Pehuenstat-1 reached at 640 kilometres altitude orbit where it's expected to remain for several years. The name of the satellite comes from the word "pehuen" which according to Patagonia's mapuche Indians refers to the araucaria trees so symbolic of the Argentine province of Neuquen.