Venta-1: Latvia’s First Satellite  Ready for Lift-off


In the very centre of a small satellite, a red and white disc installed in between several microchips makes it possible to adjust the satellite’s route from Earth as it heads towards outer space. Seven kilograms of Latvia will be fired into outer space via a carrier rocket from India. A team at Ventspils University College will then proceed to track it. Latvia has been preparing for its first space mission since 2009, and the result is a well-equipped and functional satellite that was created through a partnership between students and instructors at Ventspils and Bremen, where the original version of the Latvian satellite currently resides.


“Ours is much larger, with additional functions, and a special system to track ships at sea,” says Dr Aigars Krauze, a senior researcher at Ventspils University College. “Venta-1 will make it possible to track ships all the way across the ocean.” Smaller satellites have been sent into space in recent years by several other international universities, including several in the Baltic States. Estonia’s EstCube can be tracked via a satellite ground station by students at Ventspils, and six of its graduates helped to programme EstCube, making use of their knowledge in the field of electronics.


“They will be outstanding electronics engineers,” Aigars says about his students, “because satellites are very demanding and require much precision in calculations and their implementation.” The college can use its experience in this regard to supplement study programmes, because interest in space technologies is on the rise throughout the world.