Russia launched this Monday on the second attempt the first nanosatellite of the Generalitat of Catalonia with the help of a Soyuz 2.1a carrier rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome (Kazakhstan). The launch, initially scheduled for last Saturday and postponed at the last minute due to “increased voltage” in the carrier’s systems, was carried out at 09.07 Moscow time (07.07 Spanish peninsular time) and was broadcast live by Roscomos, the agency Russian space.
The nanosatellite, dubbed ‘Enxaneta’, is the first of two small satellites that the Catalan Government plans to put into orbit to improve the connectivity of Catalonia and Earth observation. The launch of the device is part of Catalonia’s New Space strategy, which seeks to boost the aerospace sector. The Generalitat trusts that this growing sector will generate 1,200 jobs in the next 4 years and 280 million euros of turnover.
Both the ‘Enxaneta’ and a second device that will be launched at the end of this year or early 2022, have been developed by the companies Open Cosmos and Sateliot, through a contract tendered by the Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya ( IEEC). The management and control of these Catalan nanosatellites will be carried out from the ground station located at the Montsec Astronomical Observatory, in Sant Esteve de la Sarga (Lleida).
Together with the ‘Enxaneta’, which will orbit at low altitude, about 500 kilometers away from Earth, the accelerator block ‘Fragat’ of the Russian carrier will put into orbit in the next few hours another 37 satellites from 17 countries, including the South Korean device CAS500-1.
“We build a country of opportunities”
The acting Minister of Digital Policies and Public Administration of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Jordi Puigneró, stated this Monday that the launch of the ‘Enxaneta’ nanosatellite is “a great day for Catalonia”, because “today we are helping to build a country of opportunities and progress for all“.
At CosmoCaixa in Barcelona, where he followed the live broadcast of the launch of the Russian carrier rocket Soyuz 2.1a from the Baikonur cosmodrome (Kazakhstan), Puigneró stressed that, with the first satellite of the Generalitat, “we are making it possible for the Catalonia’s smallest town may have the largest digital company in the country “. “We have laid the foundations so that any citizen, living in Tirvia, Prat de Compte or in Muntaner street in Barcelona, will have the same opportunities to develop economically and socially in the coming years, because having access to the internet of things will be the basis of the new digital economy“, Puigneró emphasized.
For the councilor, “connectivity is today an economic and social right of the 21st century, a powerful instrument of territorial cohesion, equal opportunities and progress for everyone. “” We will not be a social country if we are not a digital country, and this means being a country connected, by land, by sea and for the space, in short, connected to the future “, and in this sense, he stressed:” Investing in connectivity is the best guarantee of work and progress for everyone “.
For Puigneró, this must be “the year of the turning point of the digitization of our society and our economy”, while he has considered that, to face the future, “we must prop up the economy with the alliance of knowledge, business, ecology and management“.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.