The country of the nanosatellite

2 min
Soyuz with the Enxaneta nano-satellite inside

We often ask ourselves what kind of country we want. It is a pertinent and necessary question, and one that has many answers. One of them would most certainly have to do with scientific ambition, behind which there are a number of virtues: it calls for a high level of education, it helps to make innovation possible in companies and therefore to create wealth, and it drives concrete solutions to improve our quality of life. Scientific projects are an engine of progress. The first Catalan nanosatellite, the Enxaneta, lifted off this Monday morning, after two postponements. It culminates a two-year work and is the first of the six nanosatellites that the Generalitat plans to activate in a first phase that will last between three and four years. To speak, as has been said at some point, of the Catalan NASA is laughable. But the project itself must be taken very seriously. If only there were more initiatives of this calibre. The Enxaneta is part of Catalonia's NewSpace Strategy, which aims to place Catalonia in the new space economy as a sector of opportunities to improve the economy and services on Earth.

Specifically, the device is a three-unit CubeSat that will deploy global connectivity services for the Internet of Things (IoT) throughout the Catalan territory, so that it will allow communication and data collection throughout the country, especially in areas that today do not have coverage of conventional terrestrial telecommunications networks. Among other things, it will be able to monitor the flow of rivers and water reserves, track wildlife in order to protect it, receive weather data from stations in remote locations or follow herds and crops to detect diseases and define more efficient strategies. All this from space, 500 kilometres from Earth

Now that we are on the verge of having a new Government, we must insist on the importance of the fact that governing means exactly this: working seriously, thinking in the medium and long term, to carry out specific projects with the maximum potential. Politics, good politics, is also or should also be this. Because the future wellbeing of the people will depend on realities like this, with an obvious technical transforming capacity. Yes, a nanosatellite is, if used to improve realities such as those described and many others, an effective tool for innovation, but also for social cohesion and equal opportunities. And to make this possible, the chain of knowledge transfer between the world of research and the world of business must work, and the ability to join forces between the public and private sectors must also be effective. For this reason, as the universities and research centres unanimously and insistently demand, it is crucial that at government level there is a clear commitment to science and innovation that is reflected both in budgetary priorities and in a ministry that brings business and knowledge into dialogue, one of whose urgent missions will be to attract the recovery funds channelled by the European Commission. The country we want must have many nanosatellites and many other cutting-edge technological projects. It is urgent to get to work.