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Estonia's first ever satellite begins circling Earth


19:09, May 07, 2013

TALLINN, May 7 (Xinhua) -- Estonia's first satellite, ESTCube-1, was sent into orbit on Tuesday, making the small Baltic nation the 41st one in the world owning manmade object in space.

Launched from the Guiana Space Center, the one-kilogram nanosatellite reached orbit at around 07:06 Estonian time (0606 GMT). It was accompanied by two other satellites, Europe's Proba V and Vietnam's VNREDSat 1A.

Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR) reported one of the project's leaders, senior researcher Mart Noorma, as saying, "I am very proud to be seeing all these students here who are watching their handiwork of five years."

Estonian Speaker of Parliament Ene Ergma, an astrophysicist by training who was in French Guiana to observe the launch, said Estonia is now a "tiny space country," but "it's a really big deal in my opinion."

University students had been developing the nanosatellite since 2008 with preparations for the project made even earlier. ESTCube-1 will carry out innovative solar wind experiments.

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