This morning 3 Israeli nano-satellites, called Adelis-SAMSON 1,2, and 3, have been successfully launched into orbit, carrying out a mission to help save countless lives. Developed by the Technion University in cooperation with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Adelis Foundation, The Israeli Space Agency and Ramon.Space, the three satellites which were launched from a designated location in Kazakhstan along with satellites from 37 other countries.

"The current project continues a Technion tradition that began in 1998 with the successful launch of the Gurwin-TechSat II," notes Professor Uri Sivan, President of the Technion. "That satellite has been operating in space for more than 11 years, a record time for academic activity in space. The launch of Adelis-SAMSON is a dramatic moment that we have been waiting nine years for and will follow closely.
I sincerely thank our partners at the Adelis Foundation, the Goldstein Foundation, the Israel Space Agency, and Israel Aerospace Industries for helping us make this project a reality."

Search and rescue from space

Piggybacking on the Soyuz-2 Russian rocket, the main purpose of the trio of nano-satellites is to enhance search and rescue capabilities with an orbiting system of geolocators. The satellites are tasked with demonstrating long-term formation flight and testing whether a series of small satellites can be used to monitor signals from emergency locator beacons used by ships, planes, explorers, and hikers.

"You could compare the innovation of nano-satellites to switching from the personal computer to the cellphone. The Adelis-Samson project demonstrates a new concept in nano-satellite design and will enable many operations to be carried out that have been reserved until now for large and expensive satellites,” explains Prof. Pini Gurfil, who headed the research team that devised the  Adelis-SAMSON project. The software and algorithms that will manage the flight were developed at the distributed space systems lab at the Technion.

The team of researchers led by Prof. Pini Gurfil

“The technology created by our company has been used in many space missions of many countries. However, it’s especially exciting to be part of the launch of three Israeli satellites into space. We are very proud to be part of this inspiring space program and we congratulate the Technion for this great achievement,” adds Avi Shabtai, CEO at Ramon.Space, which is the company that provided the AI/ML processors that simulate earth-like computing systems in space.

The satellites will travel at an altitude of 550 km (341 mi) above ground and will detect signals from Earth using a mission receiver developed by IAI. The CubeSats will then transmit these signals to a mission control center located at Technion's Asher Space Research Institute.

The field of nano-satellites has been booming recently and the number of launches is increasing every year," says Avi Blasberger, director of the Israeli Space Agency at the Ministry of Science and Technology. "The cost of developing and launching such satellites, capable of performing a variety of uses, is significantly lower than those of regular satellites. In the near future networks are expected to appear to include thousands of nano-satellites that will cover the Earth and enable high-speed internet communication at a significantly lower cost than is currently available, as well as having many other applications such as the one demonstrated in the Adelis-SAMSON satellites."