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30th anniversary of Magion 1

The 30th anniversary of the first Czechoslovak satellite Magion 1

On the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of the launch of the first Czechoslovak satellite MAGION there was an exhibition organized by Observatory and Planetarium of the capital city Prague and the Institute of Atmospheric Physics ASCR that reminds the origin and development of our first satellites MAGION. Look forward to a flight model, instruments and historical photos.

First Czechoslovak artificial satellite was launched from the Russian Plesetsk cosmodrome on 24th October 1978 on Kosmos-3M rocket with a satellite Intercosmos 18. The satellite was cuboid shaped with dimensions of 0.3 x 0.3 x 0.15 meters and weight 14.5 kg. Its main task was to study the low-frequency electromagnetic phenomena in the magnetosphere. This mission also expressed the satellite name which came from the combination of the first three letters of the names of the studied environment - the MAGnetosphere and IONosphere.

This environment in the former Czechoslovakia studied the researchers from the Geophysical Institute of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences (today Institute of Atmospheric Physics ASCR), who have along with other departments and universities devised a scientific satellite programme and designed the entire MAGION 1 satellite including the instruments. Satellite worked without problems until its destruction in the atmosphere. The last contact with the satelite was made on 10th September 1981. Connection maintained receiving station of the Geophysical Institute of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences in Panská Ves.

Satellites of MAGION type were designed and built under the Intercosmos program. Between years 1970 - 1991 was in this program prepared number of instruments for 22 space objects including interplanetary probes Vega 1, Magions 4 and 5, the latest two satellites in the series which were launched in 1995 - 1996, and which were part of an extensive international research program of Sun-Earth relations.

About MAGION programme

  • Magion operated in tandem with the Russian parent satellite and it had a similar scientific instruments.
  • Czech satellites were completely manufactured in the Geophysical Institute of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences with the assistance of subcontractors.
  • Projects in which the satellites were placed, were formed with broad international participation.
  • Satellite operation and data recieving took place in telemetry station in Panská Ves.
  • Scientific instruments modes changes were operated in real time, in the presence of their creators.
  • The results of the measuring were published in more than 100 scientific papers.

Employees of Institute of Atmospheric Physics have recently built two devices for the forthcoming ESA's Proba-2, which will measure the parameters of a cold plasma and density, temperature and chemical composition of the environment around the satellite. Other successful projects of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics are: solar sensor for determining the position of the Russian astronomical satellite Spektr-R and frequency analyzer for French satellite TARANIS, which task is to research storm activity in the ionosphere plasma.