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Three nanosatellites developed by Israeli scientists at the Technion in Haifa that will perform autonomous formation flights in space were launched into orbit on Monday on the Soyuz 2 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The Adelis-SAMSON (Space Autonomous Mission for Swarming and Geolocation with Nanosatellites) project was launched into space after years of planning, development, construction, and improvements.

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SAMSON is an experimental mission that consists of three nanosatellites with a two-pronged mission: to demonstrate long-term autonomous cluster flight of multiple satellites without human intervention, and to receive signals from Earth and detect their precise location for search and rescue, remote sensing, and environmental monitoring missions.

The project was carried out by a team at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, led by Professor Pini Gurfil of the Asher Space Research Institute

Satellite tracking and data collection is take place at the Technion’s mission control center, which was inaugurated in 2018. Built with the support of the Adelis Foundation, the center contains an array of Israeli-made antennae manufactured by “Orbit,” which will maintain continuous communication with the satellites.

Being the first project of its kind, the Adelis-SAMSON is considered a “technological leap” that is underway after years of interdisciplinary research and collaboration, including new and original developments.

For the three satellites to travel in formation and fulfill their missions, each was installed with sensors, antennae, computer systems, control systems, navigation devices, a unique and innovative propulsion system, and a mission receiver developed by Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI).

The three satellites were launched along with dozens of satellites from 18 countries, including Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia.

The Adelis-SAMSON satellites entered orbit four hours and 20 minutes after the launch. They were activated 30 minutes later, and their systems started operating.

The first communication with the control center at the Technion is expected on Saturday afternoon.

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