Finland became an independent state on 6 December 1917 – thus this year is the centenary of Finland’s independence.
Throughout the year, diverse and international centenary programme is taking place everywhere in Finland and abroad, emphasising Finland’s strengths, such as equality and democracy, providing opportunities to better understand the past, experiencing the jubilee together and setting the course for Finland’s future success.
Suomi 100 satellite is one of the official projects of the centenary programme and it is definitely highest-flying one.
The satellite emphasises the image and self-esteem of this high-tech country and views the Finnish scientific and technical knowhow hundred years back and peaks also to the future. It will bring together academia and laypersons in Finland behind a joint project looking up to space and down to Earth.
The Suomi 100 Satellite will have also a scientific mission: research of space weather and auroras, both linked together and one of the main subjects of the Finnish space research. Additionally it sports a camera for taking stunning orbital imagery.
The satellite has been ready since fall 2017, but because of the problems with the launcher (Indian PSLV) the launch has been delayed. In July 2018 the launch was transferred to Falcon 9 (Spaceflight's SSO-A Mission) and according to current (18 July 2018) planning the satellite will share the ride to space with 100+ other small satellites in late September or early October from Vandenberg AFB in California.
The Suomi 100 satellite demonstrates how much the world has changed since the Finnish independence: both camera and radios have been the devices known in 1917.
The satellite not only is connected to the ground via radio link but it will also listen to the nearby space with a special radio equipment. This VHF/UHF band radio will receive radio waves sent from the ground and the precise study of the received signals will reveal the structure and contents of the ionosphere, area in space around the Earth full of charged particles, originating mostly from the Sun.
In general, that area and the changes in it are closely linked to space weather and to the geomagnetic storms. These are behind the magnificent auroral displays that are one of the main elements of the Finnish wintery landscape.
When thinking the radio from a historical point of view, in 1917 the humanity didn’t yet affect the radio environment in practice in any way. But how does Finland sound today through radio ears? The satellite can map the Finland based on the radio emissions beamed up to space.
The camera will be also like a time machine: it can see Earth and Finland like a human being and the photos gathered by the camera will be used to build a visual map of 100-years-old Finland for future generations. This will be published also as a virtual reality experience.
The Suomi 100 Satellite project will reach all Finns, as well as an international audience, with a particular focus on young people: elementary school students, high school students and University students.
The most visible part of the project was in September-October 2017, when the "Space Truck", the roaming Suomi 100 Satellite exhibition built inside a truck toured the main cities and towns of Finland. The visitors had an access to a virtual space, learned about space, science and technology, and also built a copy of the satellite in a small clean room inside the truck.
Roots in Aalto university’s nanosatellite knowhow
The Suomi 100 Satellite originated from the team behind the Aalto nanosatellites, designed and built by Aalto university students since 2010.
The first satellite, Aalto-1, also the 1st spacecraft registered to Finland, has been ready for launch since 2015 and is still now waiting launch by SpaceX. The Falcon 9 launches are severely delayed and if all goes now according to planning, the launch carrying Aalto-1 could take off in February 2017.
Also the second satellite from the university, Aalto-2, has been finished and is currently scheduled for launch to the ISS in March 2017 as part of the international QB50 satellite constellation.
The Suomi 100 Satellite is based directly on these previous satellites and the experiences gained during their development, construction and launch preparations.
For more information:
Prof. Esa Kallio
Tel. +358 50 4205 857