CESI has provided solar panels for the Vatican's first satellite, SpeiSat, which will be launched from Vandenberg, Calif. at 5.19 pm (11.19 am CEST)
In its 90-minute orbit, SpeiSat will spend 60 minutes exposed to the Sun to power photovoltaic cells provided by CESI, while the remaining 30 minutes will be in the Earth's shadow. CESI has 30 years of experience in researching, developing and manufacturing high-efficiency solar cells for space applications and is one of the world's leading suppliers of multi-junction cells using materials such as GaAs (gallium arsenide) and InGaP (indium gallium phosphide).
SpeiSat was built by a team from the Polytechnic University of Turin, led by Professor Sabrina Corpino, in a record time of only three months. It houses two on-board experiments: measurement of the Earth's magnetic field using three-axis magnetometers and thermal control of the satellite using temperature sensors that send data to the control room set up at the Polytechnic University of Turin. It will also bring into orbit Pope Francis' "Statio Orbis" prayer recited in the rain in a deserted St. Peter's Square on March 27, 2020 during the Covid 19 pandemic
The launch of SpeiSat was supported by the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and the National Research Council (CNR). In addition, the mission is under the direction of the Holy See's Dicastery for Communication and was mediated by Fr. Luca Peyron, founder of the Digital Apostolate Service and astronomy enthusiast.