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Venta-1 is the first nanosatellite project of Latvia built by LatSpace SIA of Ventspils in collaboration with the VHTP (Ventspils High Technology Park), Latvia and ÅAC Microtec of Uppsala, Sweden. The nanosatellite is part of the Latvian space technology development program supported by the Ministry of Science and Education of Latvia and the local authorities in Ventspils. 1) 2) 3) 4)

The name Venta-1 is derived from Ventspils, a city of about 45,000 inhabitants located in northwestern Latvia, close to the Baltic Sea. The official name of the project was V1-QSPnP1 (V1-QuadSat-PnP-1), the spacecraft is based on the QuadSat trays with a PnP (Plug-and-Play) payload from ÅAC (Ångström Aerospace Corporation) Microtec.

The main mission objectives are to support the education in space engineering and to use and further develop the space related infrastructure in Latvia.


Figure 1: Illustration of the Venta-1 spacecraft configuration in 2011 (image credit: Ventspils University)

The goal of the Venta-1 satellite is to provide a flying testbed as a counterpart of the satellite technology laboratory at the Ventspils University College. Satellite is built in cooperation with the City University of Applied Sciences in Bremen, Germany. Venta-1 is the first national satellite owned by Latvia with its mission's main goal to support the space technology education in Latvia. 5)



The Venta-1 nanosatellite has a mass of 5 kg and is 70 cm x 40 x 13 cm in size. Venta-1 uses body-mounted solar panels to generate up to 10 W of power. Attitude control is accomplished with a magnetometer and IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) to deliver attitude data. Electromagnets are used for basic pointing control. The satellite uses VHF/UHF and S-band communication systems with a downlink data rate up to 1Mbit/s.

The first design of Venta-1 design with proposed additional payload from Swedish company ÅAC Microtec was provided in 2011 (Figure 1). The satellite's body was a 275 x 275 x 100 mm with a 500 x 310 mm solar panel on top. The mass was 7,5 kg.

After the decision was made to launch Venta-1 on the Indian launch vehicle PSLV and stack Venta-1 for launch together with Italian Max Valier satellite, the Venta-1 body was redesigned during 2015. The new design keeps spacecraft avionics and AIS payload as presented in 2011, increases the SA(Solar Array) with 48 cells and delited Microtec payload. The final Venta-1 design dimensions are 700 x 400 x 130 mm, with a mass of ~5 kg.

Both satellites will separate only in orbit after being deployed together by the PSLV launch vehicle. The launch of the satellite Venta-1 is planned in Q2 of 2017 with the Indian launch vehicle PSLV – C38.

Venta-1 functional description:

• The satellite OBDH (Onboard Data Handling) system has two redundant main board computers collecting data from all other subsystems, storing and sending data to TMTC (Telemetry and Telecommanding) system and performing all main tasks like antenna deployment.

• The ACS (Attitude Control System) aligns the satellite towards the sun, and keeps it spinning around the sun-pointing axis.

• The TS (Thermal Subsystem) is completely passive, just measuring temperatures.

• The EPS (Electrical Power System) charges and discharges the batteries and distributes the power to other subsystems.

• The AIS payload consists of the AIS receivers which receive, demodulate and decode the ship signals.

• For the AIS data downloading there is an S-band transmitter on board.



Figure 2: Venta-1 design configuration in 2016 during vibration tests (image credit: Ventspils University)


Figure 3: Venta – 1 with deployed VHF antennas,bottom view configuration (image credit: HSB (Hochschule Bremen))

Launch: The Venta-1 nanosatellite was launched on June 23, 2017 (03:59 UTC) as a secondary payload on the PSLV-C38 vehicle in XL configuration of ISRO from SDSC (Satish Dhawan Space Center), India. The primary payload on this flight was CartoSat-2E (~712 kg), the sixth satellite in the Cartosat-2 series (total launch mass of ~955 kg). 6) 7) 8)

Orbit: Sun-synchronous near-circular orbit, altitude of 505 km, inclination = 97.44º, LTDN (Local Time on Descending Node) at 9:30 hours.


Secondary payloads: 30 satellites (co-passengers) with a total mass of 243 kg):

The 29 international customer nanosatellites were launched as part of the commercial arrangements between Antrix (Antrix Corporation Limited), a Government of India company under DOS (Department of Space) and the commercial arm of ISRO and the International customers.

The Dutch company ISISpace (Innovative Solutions In Space) of Delft accommodated most of the secondary payloads aboard the multi-satellite launch (responsible for manifesting a total of 23 satellites on this particular launch). Engineers stowed the CubeSats in QuadPacks before shipping them to the Indian launch site. 9)

Among these 23 satellites, there are 8 CubeSats that will complement and complete the QB50 constellation for upper atmospheric research ( This project, sponsored by the European Commision's FP7 is managed by the Von Karmann Institute from Belgium and ISISpace has been one of the consortium partners of QB50 since the start. The CubeSats launched by ISISpace into polar orbit will work together with the CubeSats deployed from the International Space Station in May.

The ISILaunch19 manifest also includes several payloads that were initially scheduled for a launch on a Falcon 9 mission through Spaceflight's Sherpa mission, a launch that was significantly delayed due to various factors. ISL and Spaceflight have jointly worked on re-manifesting these payloads to this PSLV launch to make sure our customer's satellites were launched earlier. Such a re-manifesting of payloads clearly shows the added value of the ISILaunch Services of ISISpace to serve the CubeSat community, offering access-to-space flexibility towards customers of launch services by operating across multiple launch vehicles and missions in parallel.


Figure 4: Overview of timeline and satellites handled by ISISpace in their ISILaunch 19 campaign (image credit: ISISpace)

• NIUSAT (Noorul Islam University Satellite), located in Kumarakovil, Thuckalay, Kanyakumari District Tamil Nadu, India. NIUSAT is an Earth observation nanosatellite (15 kg). NIUSAT features a RGP camera with a ground resolution of 25 m and a frame size of 50 km x 50 km.

• CE-SAT-1 (Canon Electric Satellite-1), a microsatellite (50 kg) of Canon Electronics Space Technology Laboratory, Japan. The microsatellite features an optical imaging system based on a 40 cm diameter Cassegrain telescope.

• Max Valier, a nanosatellite (16 kg) of the "Max Valier" school Bolzano and the "Oskar von Miller" school Merano, in South Tyrol, Italy.

• D-SAT (Deorbit Satellite), a 3U CubeSat mission (3.5 kg) by the Italian company D-Orbit to demonstrate active end-of-life reentry.

• 3 Diamond nanosatellites (Blue, Green, Red) of Sky and Space Global, UK, developed by GomSpace ApS of Denmark. The three 3U CubeSats (each 6 kg) are pathfinders for Sky and Space Global's 200 Satellite LEO constellation.

• Pegasus, a nanosatellite (2U CubeSat) of FH Wiener Neustadt, Austria (thermosphere research). Pegasus is a member of the QB50 constellation with the m-NLP payload.

• InflateSail, a 3U CubeSat of SSC (Surrey Space Centre) at the University of Surrey, UK (technology demonstration nanosatellite). Part of the QB50 constellation. Inflatesail is designed to test a deployable sail as a means to deorbit the satellite. Inflatesail will use a 3.3 m sail at the end of a 1m boom deployed from the body of the satellite.

• UCLSat (University College London Satellite), a 2U CubeSat of UCL with the INMS (Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer), ionosphere research. UCLSat is part of the QB50 constellation.

• NUDTSat (National University of Defense Technology Satellite), Belgium, a 2U CubeSat of NUDT for ionosphere research. NUDTSat features a FIPEX instrument of the QB50 constellation.

• COMPASS-2 (DragSail CubeSat), a 3U CubeSat of FH Aachen, Germany (technology demonstration nanosatellite). COMPASS-2 is part of the QB50 constellation.

• LituanicaSAT-2, a 3U CubeSat of Vilnius University, Lithuania. The CubeSat is part of the QB50 constellation with a FIPEX payload.

• URSA MAIOR (University of Rome la SApienza MicroAttitude In ORbit testing), a 3U CubeSat to study the lower thermosphere. USRA MAIOR is a member of the QB50 constellation with the m-NLP payload.

• VZLUSat-1, a 2U CubeSat Czech technology nanosatellite of VTLU, developed in cooperation with Czech companies (RITE, HVP Plasma, 5M, TTS, IST) and universities (CVUT, University of West Bohemia). The nanosatellite carries on board the following experiments: a miniaturized X-ray telescope, composite material for radiation shielding, FIPEX, a QB50 instrument, to measure the concentration of oxygen in the thermosphere.

• SUCHAI-1 (Satellite of the University of Chile for Aerospace Investigation), a 1U CubeSat (1 kg).

• Venta-1, a nanosatellite (~5 kg) of Ventspils University, Latvia, developed by Ventspils University College in cooperation with Ventspils High Technology Park, Bremen University of Applied Sciences and OHB Systems. Venta-1 carries an AIS (Automated Identification System ) receiver, which will pick up identification signals from ships at sea.

• Aalto-1, a Finnish student nanosatellite (3U CubeSat) of Aalto University, Aalto, Finland.

• ROBUSTA-1B (Radiation on Bipolar Test for University Satellite Application), a nanosatellite with a scientific experiment developed by the University of Montpellier students (France), a successor to the ROBUSTA satellite, which was launched in February 2012.

• skCube, a 1U CubeSat for educational and popularization outreach developed by SOSA (Slovak Organization for Space Activities ) at the University of Zilina. It is Slovakia's first satellite.

• CICERO-6 (Community Initiative for Cellular Earth Remote Observation-6), a 6U CubeSat of GeoOptics Inc. (~10 kg), Pasadena, CA, built by Tyvak Nanosatellite Systems. The objective is to demonstrate radio occultation observations for a commercial customer. CICERO-6 features Cion (CICERO Instrument for GPS-RO) with a mass of 1.2 kg. Cion has a size of 30 x 10 x 6 cm, power of 8 W. 10)

• Tyvak-53b, a technology 3U demonstrator by Tyvak Nanosatellite Systems, Inc. (Irvine, CA) to validate technology aimed at helping to deorbit small satellites.

• Lemur-2 x 8. Lemur-2 is commercial satellite constellation of Spire Global Inc., San Francisco, CA, The objective of the Lemur-2 constellation is ship tracking via AIS (Automatic Identification System) with SENSE. The STRATOS instrument makes use of GPS occultation measurements to determine temperature, pressure and humidity profiles of Earth's atmosphere for application in operational meteorology.

All 31 Satellites separated successfully. 11)



Sensor/experiment complement: (SATAIS, Cameras)

SATAIS (Satellite Automatic Identification System)

Venta-1 features two SATAIS receivers (first generation) of LuxSpace Sarl, a company of OHB-SE, as the main payload and an onboard data storage system. The AIS terminals have a mass of ~1.5 kg and have an expected lifetime of seven years. About 80 MB of data will be accumulated in 24 hours. The AIS messages are downlinked in S-band to a ground station in Bremen, Germany and a ground station in Latvia.


Two optical cameras are used to acquire images of Earth that will be geo-referenced with data provided by a GPS receiver.


1) Indulis Kalnins, Willem Bode, "AISat, Venta-1 and Max Valier nanosatellite based on QuadSat platform," Proceedings of IAC 2011 (62nd International Astronautical Congress), Cape Town, South Africa, Oct. 3-7, 2011, paper: IAC-11.B4.7.5

2) Indulis Kalnins, "Modular Latvian nanosatellite VENTA-1 with the payloads from Germany, Luxembourg, Sweden and USA," ReSpace/MAPLD (Military and Aerospace Applications of Programmable Devices and Technologies) 2011 Conference, Albuquerque, NM, USA, Aug. 22-25, 2011

3) "Latvia's first satellite Venta-1," VHTP, 2011, URL:

4) Dana Reizniece, Indulis Kalnins, Juris Zagars, "Venta-1: Basis for Education, Science and Industry Development," SEMW 2010, Vilnius, Oct. 08, 2010, URL:

5) "Venta-1," Ventspils University, 2017, URL:

6) "PSLV-C38 / Cartosat-2 Series Satellite," ISRO, June 23, 2017, URL:

7) "Indian Launch Manifest of April 15, 2017," URL:

8) "Indian Launch Manifest of April 15, 2017," URL:

9) Andra, "Successful ISILaunch19 campaign," ISILaunch19, June 23, 2017, URL:

10) Dave Williamson, "Small Satellites: The Execution and Launch of a GPS Radio Occultation Instrument in a 6U Nanosatellite," 33rd Space Symposium, Colorado Springs, CO, USA, April 3-6, 2017, URL of presentation:

11) "PSLV-C38 / Cartosat-2 Series Satellite Mission: All 31 Satellites separated successfully," ISRO, June 23, 2017, URL:

The information compiled and edited in this article was provided by Herbert J. Kramer from his documentation of: "Observation of the Earth and Its Environment: Survey of Missions and Sensors" (Springer Verlag) as well as many other sources after the publication of the 4th edition in 2002. - Comments and corrections to this article are always welcome for further updates (

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