The launch of OSM1 CICERO, the very first satellite made in the Principality, is scheduled for June 18th at 22:51 (local time) from the Kourou space center (French Guiana), namely at 01:51am Universal Time, sometimes referred to as Greenwich Mean Time, June 19.
This nanosatellite will be launched into orbit by Arianespace’s Vega rocket from Kourou and will circle the earth every 90 minutes at an altitude of 540km. It will be equipped with advanced instrumentation originally designed by JPL/NASA. Called OSM1 CICERO the satellite will do terrestrial observation, collecting important meteorological data.
OSM1 CICERO will be the first Monegasque satellite officially registered by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA).
Difficult to imagine that Monaco’s Orbital Solutions current jewel OSM1 Cicero is a satellite that is only slightly bigger than a shoebox – and you can carry it; it weighs in at about ten kilos.
Imagine a budget of just over one million euros will now create a satellite. An international team of Orbital Solutions engineers have been busy designing this satellite to include a multitude of modules with sophisticated circuitry. Green energy solar collectors power the battery. It is a super high tech dwarf which in the lexicon of the space industry is baptized a «nanosatellite».
A Space Program Ideal for Monaco
And the key feature that Francesco Bongiovanni its founder seized on – which sparked his idea that this is an ideal business for Monaco to diversify into – is that nanosatellites and their components can be engineered by small teams of young brilliant people in a small space. And Monaco is lightning fast and nimble at raising capital when the right business idea comes along. Which is exactly what happened.
Francesco Bongiovanni is aiming high not just at the sky – he has already secured exclusive European rights to the world’s most sophisticated data-sensing technology to be included in Monaco’s satellite. And he has visions of tempting NASA to consider his Monaco created space-engineering company to design a high-tech payload on a future mission to the moon.
Harvard educated Francesco Bongiovanni not only holds a doctorate in engineering but is a knight of Monaco’s Order of Saint Charles for his humanitarian and biodiversity protection endeavours; he worked with the Principality to rebuild homes in Indonesia for people devastated by a tsunami; and again with the Principality helped to protect threatened fish species and coral near Papua New Guinea. Passionate about music he would love to write more symphonies but for now he is 24/24 steering Orbital Solutions to play a role in protecting the environment both on Earth and in Space.
And so on 300 square meters of the fifth floor of the Triton building in Fontvieille this seed has been growing that is part of Monaco’s future. There the young futuristic company called Orbital Solutions built this nanosatellite.