Guatemala deploys its first satellite

Quetzal-1 – Guatemala’s first satellite – has been deployed. The Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG) and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) saw their satellite deployed by JAXA from the International Space Station (ISS) this week.

The satellite is Guatemala’s first and will, according to an announcement from the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), unlock new possibilities for the country and help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The primary objective of the mission is to test a multispectral sensor to acquire remote sensing data for natural resource management. A potential use of the sensor is to monitor water quality in inland water bodies, helping to achieve United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 6 – clean water and sanitation. 

The Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG) was a winner of the KiboCUBE programme 2017, run by UNOOSA. The KiboCUBE programme offers the opportunity for institutions from developing countries to develop a cube satellite to be deployed from the ISS Japanese Experiment Module (Kibo).

The programme, which recently completed its fifth round, previously enabled Kenya to deploy its first satellite in 2018, 1KUNS-PF, developed by a team from the University of Nairobi. 

The overall project supports SDG Goal 9 – industry, innovation and infrastructure – helping Guatemala develop its capacities in aerospace engineering and sparking innovations, such as the sensor created for the satellite. Women were an integral part of the winning team that engineered the satellite, contributing to SDG Goal 5 – gender equality. 

The project has been made possible thanks to the strong collaboration of NGOs and educational and scientific establishments from a number of countries.

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