Suomi 100 satellite

Suomi 100 satellite was launched into orbit on 3 December 2018 aboard the SSO-A mission carrying several other micro and nanosatellites. The signal from the satellite was captured at the Aalto University ground station during the first good flyover in the early hours of 4 December and the satellite is functioning as planned still now in 2023.

Illustration of the Suomi 100 satellite in space

The name of the satellite, Suomi 100, refers to the centenary of Finland’s independence which was celebrated throughout the year 2017. "Suomi" is Finland in Finnish.

This satellite was planned to be a part of the diverse and ambitious centenary programme, emphasising Finland’s strengths, history and future; Finland was raised from a poor agricultural country to one of the highest developed countries in the world only by cooperation, strength, science and technology.

Thus Suomi 100 satellite wanted to raise our eyes to the sky and future, celebrating the Finnish scientific and technical know-how and bringing together academia and laypersons. The satellite was and is literally the highest-flying project of the centenary celebrations.

Falcon 9 lifts off with Suomi 100 satellite

Launch delay

The satellite, using the 1U CubeSat bus acquired from GOMspace that was modified and attached with the instruments developed at the Aalto University, was ready for launch on time.

Originally the launch should have taken place with the Indian PSLV rocket in the fall of 2017, but that was delayed first to the end of the year, and then indefinitely because of the launch accident that took place in August 2017.

After several delays and incertitude about the launch time, a new launch opportunity with the SpaceX Falcon 9 was arranged. This launch was again delayed but took finally place from Vandenberg AFB in California on 3 December.

The satellite was placed nicely to the planned Solar synchronous orbit at the altitude of 610 km. We thank SpaceX, ISIS Space and Spaceflight Industries for the excellent ride!

First photo taken by Suomi 100 satellite

Listening and looking at the auroras

The Suomi 100 satellite has also an interesting scientific mission: research of space weather and auroras, both linked together and one of the main subjects of Finnish space research.

It sports a camera for taking stunning orbital imagery and a specially made VHF/UHF band radio for receiving radio signals that can be used for revealing the structure and contents of the ionosphere. The Ionosphere is an area in space around the Earth full of charged particles, originating mostly from the Sun.

In general, the ionosphere and its changes are closely linked to space weather and geomagnetic storms. These are behind the magnificent auroral displays that are one of the main elements of the Finnish wintery landscape.

The images and the "sounds of auroras" can be followed on the Science measurements page.

Auroras photographed by Suomi 100 satellite

All aboard!

The educational activities of the Suomi 100 Satellite project reached all Finns through mass media and many projects raising awareness of space and STEAM subjects in general.

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 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.

One of the long-reaching results of the Suomi 100 Space Truck is Kitsat, an inexpensive educational satellite, that has been now expanded to an educational package using space as a tool in science teaching.

Space Truck in Kotka

Roots in Aalto university’s nanosatellite know-how

The Suomi 100 Satellite originated from the team behind the Aalto nanosatellites, designed and built by Aalto University students since 2010.

Because of the delays, two predecessors of the Suomi 100 satellite were launched into space in 2017: first Aalto-2 in May and Aalto-1 in June.

The operations of the Aalto-1 and Suomi 100 satellites take place from their own ground station at the university campus in Otaniemi, Espoo. If the satellite remains in good health, the mission can still go on for several years.

Satellite bein integrated to pod

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Prof. Esa Kallio
esa.kallio (at)
Puh. +358 50 420 5857

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Aalto University

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    Aalto is the leading teaching and research university in Finland

    Suomi 100 satellite is an educational project. Satellite was  designed, and manufactured, and is now operated at Aalto University.

Suomi 100 Satellite

Aalto University is partnered with Finnish Meteorological Institute in this project. Financial aid has been kindly provided by Suomi 100 project and Magnus Ehrnrooth Foundation.