On February 7, China and Belarus signed an agreement for the launch of the Belarusian State University’s BSUSat-1. The satellite is scheduled to be launched in October 2018.
The agreement took place between the university and the China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC), which is the Chinese space programme’s international commercial arm.
BSUSat-1, developed by the Belarusian State University (BSU), is a demonstration satellite to test satellite propulsion, communications systems, and data collection, among others. It will have a design life of 5 years and be placed in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) at an altitude of 500km, and will transmit radio signals that students can access by using a USB flash drive.
It is the institution’s first satellite, and the country’s first student satellite, although not its first foray into space technology. In 2014, BSU delivered a spaceborne video spectrum system to the International Space Station (ISS), and in 2010, a photo spectrum system. In 2012, the National Academy of Sciences of Republic of Belarus launched remote sensing satellite BKA-1. Last year, the Academmy announced plans to launch BKA-2, and mentioned that it was considering inviting Singapore, Russia and Egypt to help with funding.
BSU-Sat 1 will be the second Belarusian satellite launched by China. In January 2016, China launched Belarus’ first communications satellite, Belintersat 1.
This is not the first agreement between China and Belarus in the field of space – in January 2016, China launched Belarus’ first communications satellite, Belintersat 1, manufactured by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) and Thales Alenia Space.