Kraków team launches world’s FIRST satellite which navigates with ‘spinning magnetic liquid’

KRAKsat will be placed inside the Cygnus spacecraft, which will be launched into orbit aboard an Antares 230 rocket, with lift-off scheduled for 10:46 pm Polish time on Wednesday from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Flight Facility, on the US east coast. KRAKsat Space Systems/Facebook

A unique satellite built by Kraków students is to be launched into orbit from a NASA-owned centre in the US.

The KRAKsat which launches on Wednesday from  Wallops Island, Virginia, will be the world's first satellite with magnetic liquid orientation control.

Project team member Alicja Kubera told PAP on Monday that KRAKsat will be in orbit for about a year, after which it will burn up in the atmosphere. The students will monitor the equipment's work from Kraków using special computer systems.

KRAKsat will be launched along with a microSD card with a special load, as a result of the 'I fly in space' campaign organised by the students in January. The card with allow space enthusiasts to post photographic or graphic material on the satellite. KRAKsat Space Systems/Facebook

KRAKsat will be placed inside the Cygnus spacecraft, which will be launched into orbit aboard an Antares 230 rocket, with lift-off scheduled for 10:46 pm Polish time on Wednesday from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Flight Facility, on the US east coast.

It will be a standard delivery to the International Space Station, with which Cygnus will dock after several hours' flight. In addition to essential equipment, the craft's interior will also carry other research satellites to be put into orbit.

Project team member Alicja Kubera said that KRAKsat will be in orbit for about a year, after which it will burn up in the atmosphere. The students will monitor the equipment's work from Kraków using special computer systems.Kraksat.pl

KRAKsat will be launched along with a microSD card with a special load, as a result of the 'I fly in space' campaign organised by the students in January. The card with allow space enthusiasts to post photographic or graphic material on the satellite.

"The campaign enjoyed great popularity," Kubera said. "Over 1,200 internet users sent in their work."

The student satellite's task is to test an innovative solution - a ferrofluid flywheel. In orbit, the ferrofluid, or magnetic liquid, will be set into circular motion. If it causes a change in the speed and direction of the satellite's rotation, the system will be able to use it to provide orientation control of objects in orbit.

The proud team at Kraków’s AGH University of Science and Technology.KRAKsat Space Systems/Facebook

Due to the solution's low cost, its simplicity and reliability, the ferrofluid flywheel - according to its designers - could become a competitive technology for those already in use and revolutionise the world of space industry.

The KRAKsat project is conducted by students of the AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków.

The Cygnus spacecraft is waiting for launch into orbit aboard an Antares 230 rocket.PAP/EPA