Mongolia launches two nano sats and a space sector sandbox

Mongolia launches two nano satellites and a space sector sandbox

Mongolia got a head start this week in its ambition to launch a national satellite with the launch of two domestically manufactured low earth orbit (LEO) nano satellites and a 'sandbox' to develop the local space industry.

The two Cubesat satellites – Ondosat-Owl-1 and Ondosat-Owl-2 – were successfully launched on Monday aboard a SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket from the company's Vandenberg Space Force Base launch site.

According to a government statement released on Thursday, Ondosat-Owl-1 and Ondosat-Owl-2 were built by Mongolian company Ondo Space, and successfully completed rigorous space environmental testing at Japan’s Kyushu Institute of Technology.

The Mongolian government also announced it will establish a 'space sandbox' to support continued growth of its domestic space sector. The ‘sandbox’ is a “comprehensive new framework to provide regulatory and policy support for companies to conduct testing and R&D in Mongolia, while making use of the country's newly enhanced connectivity and competitive talent pool.”

Uchral Nyam-Osor, Mongolia’s Minister of Digital Development and Communications, said the dual nano satellite network and space sandbox will position Mongolia as a high-value investment and research destination for global companies across the space and technology sectors.

"Introducing a regulatory 'sandbox' within a comprehensive legislative framework aimed at facilitating the business landscape for cutting-edge technologies will ensure that the government actively fosters ongoing growth and innovation across key domains such as the space economy, artificial intelligence, IoT, and other emerging technologies,” he said in a statement.

The Cubesat launch comes as the Mongolian government holds discussions with SpaceX to launch the country's first national satellite: “Chinggis Sat”, named after national hero Chinggis Khan.

The Ministry of Digital Development and Communications signed a contract with Thales Alenia Space in October 2023 to build Chinggis Sat. No tentative launch date has been announced as yet.

Chinggis Sat is a geostationary Ku-band satellite that will provide high-speed internet available throughout Mongolia, including rural areas and underserved nomadic communities, giving them the necessary connectivity to carry out the government’s digital transformation ambitions under its Vision 2050 and New Recovery Policy.

Mongolia is also tapping other satellite resources to enable that connectivity. Last Friday, SpaceX’s Starlink officially launched services in the country, after receiving permission to do so last year.

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