Kitsat did its first launch on Tuesday 11 June 2019 from the Tuorla Observatory near Turku. It was flown to the stratosphere with a meteorological balloon.
The science operations at the iconic Finnish astronomical site have ended, and now the place continues as a science centre that hosts also summer camps. Kitsat was a part of the camp yesterday and also the STEAM summer course from Turku came to see it.
First Tessa had a session with the participants using the satellites and then one was sent to stratospheric flight with a balloon. Jari took care of the operations while Samuli and Bruce were documenting the activity and receiving signal from the satellite.
After an OK from the Turku Air Traffic Control, the balloon with Kitsat was released just before 2 PM. They raised rapidly towards the sky and our team left Tuorla to catch the satellite at the predicted landing place.
The landing took place after a three-hour-flight near Hyvinkää, about 150 km east from the launch site. The maximum altitude reached was approximately 35 km.
The team received clear signal from the landing and the coordinates, but unfortunately the satellite wasn't found on the site. After an intensive search-and-rescue operation in the area – also with a drone – the team gave up.
Despite the missing Kitsat, the session at Tuorla was very successful: "launching a satellite" is a wonderful way to demonstrate and explain not only space technology and atmospheric physic, but also all related subjects from materials to environmental education.