'Munin Project' Launch Scheduled

Swiss 'Munin Project' Nanosatellites Set to Launch

Associated Press

In the late 1990s, the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (Institutet för Rymdfysik, or IRF) and several collaborating universities designed a very small, eminently modern 'nanosatellite' for the observation and study of aurora activity. The Munin Project was realized when the nanosatellite was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in November 2000; however, the satellite lasted only some three months before it ceased responding to controller queries.
Over ensuing years, the satellite design has been expanded and elaborated upon by a number of students and scientists; now, the Munin Project is at last returning to space. Two additional satellites, named 'Sigrun' and 'Skogul', will be launched early next month, also from Vandenberg AFB. Like the original Munin, these satellites utilize cutting-edge technology in order to be as small as possible and still perform their intended function, the study of auroral activity and 'space weather'. The names of the satellites are drawn from the Valkyries of Norse mythology; when the Valkyries rode, light shed by their armor was said to cause the prismatic displays now known as the aurora borealis and aurora australis.

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