Aalto-2 satellite to be launched after Easter


The new launch date has been set for Tuesday, 18 April.

Space launch complex 41 at Cape Canaveral on 20 March 2017. The Atlas 5 rocket carrier with Cygnus inside its nose is inside the hall. Aalto-2 is also there. Photo: Jari Mäkinen

The Aalto-2 satellite, designed and built by students at Aalto University, is ready and waiting to be launched at the space centre in Cape Canaveral in the USA. The satellite was already packed inside the Cygnus cargo spacecraft in the nose of the Atlas 5 carrier rocket a few weeks ago. The launch in Florida has been postponed several times, last time because of hydraulic faults in the launch systems.

Atlas 5 is the next rocket to be launched after the successful launch of Falcon 9. The new launch date has been set for Tuesday, 18 April. As it looks now, the launch will take place in the evening Finnish time, when the International Space Station flies over the space launch complex at Cape Canaveral. 

‘Good news from Florida. We hope that the launch will be carried out successfully after Easter, but we are still prepared for possible further delays of a few days. The most important thing is to ensure that the cargo spacecraft reaches the space station safely’, says Professor Jaan Praks, the leader of the satellite project.

The Cygnus cargo spacecraft will be launched with the Atlas 5 carrier rocket and it will dock at the International Space Station orbiting the Earth about three days after the launch. The astronauts will release the small satellites received as cargo to their orbits within about one month.

Aalto-2 will take part in the international QB50 Mission, the aim of which is to produce the first ever comprehensive model of the features of the thermosphere, the layer between the Earth's atmosphere and space. Dozens of satellites constructed in different countries will also be part of the mission. Because Aalto-2 is part of a larger project, it will be registered in Belgium in the same way as the project’s other satellites in order to simplify the permit procedures.

The current situation with the launch can be followed on NASA's website.

Homepage of Aalto satellites (spacecraft.aalto.fi)

News item from 6 March 2017: Launch times draw near for Aalto satellites

Further information:
Jaan Praks
Professor, project leader
Aalto University
tel. +358 (0)50 420 5847


QB50 project has received funding from TEKES and the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development under grant agreement no [284427]. This publication reflects the views only of the authors, and the European Union cannot be held responsible for any use which maybe made of the information contained therein.