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Mission typeTechnology demonstration
SATCAT no.43591
Spacecraft properties
BOL mass1.11 kg (2.4 lb)
Dimensions10 x 10 x 11.35 cm
Start of mission
Launch date09:42, June 29, 2018 (UTC) (2018-06-29T09:42Z)
RocketFalcon 9 Full Thrust
Launch siteCape Canaveral SLC-40
Deployed fromISS
Deployment dateAugust 2018
Orbital parameters
RegimeLow Earth
2nd Joint Global Multination Birds Project

BHUTAN-1 is a Bhutanese nanosatellite. It is the first satellite of Bhutan.


BHUTAN-1 was designed and developed by Bhutanese graduate students who were pursuing their master's degree at the Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech) of Japan.[2] The satellite is developed under the Kyutech-led second Joint Global Multination Birds Project (Birds-2).[3]

The two other satellites developed under Birds-2; UiTMSAT-1 of Malaysia and Maya-1 of the Philippines. The first iteration of the project (Birds-1) was a joint effort by Bangladesh, Ghana, Japan, Mongolia, and Nigeria.[4]

In 2016, Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay mentioned plans to set up a space agency with Bhutan's Information and Communications Ministry. According to Tobgay, plans to launch the first Bhutanese satellite to space came from Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.[5]


The Birds-2 project commenced in November 2016.[5] BHUTAN-1 is classified as a 1U CubeSat[2] and measures 10 x 10 x 11.35 cm and weighs 1.11 kg (2.4 lb).[1] The satellite was developed and designed by a team of four Bhutanese engineers namely: Yeshey Choden, Kiran Kumar Pradhan, Cheki Dorji and Pooja Lepcha. They are pursuing a two-year master's degree in space engineering at the Kyushu Institute of Technology and the satellite project is part of their master's program.[6]

The designing and testing of the design of BHUTAN-1 began by March 2017. The functions of each sub-system of the satellite was verified before the first Engineering Model (EM-1) of BHUTAN-1 was built on June of the same year. By October 2017, EM-2 was accomplished and the development of the Flight Module (FM) commenced.[5]

Launch and mission[edit]

BHUTAN-1 was launched to space on June 29, 2018 via the Falcon 9 Full Thrust rocket at Cape Canaveral in Florida, United States[2] as part of the SpaceX CRS-15 Commercial Resupply Service mission. Maya-1 and UiTMSAT-1 which were also developed under the Birds-2 project was also among the payload of the rocket.[7] BHUTAN-1 is scheduled to be deployed from the International Space Station in August 2018.[2]

The satellite will operate at the altitude of 500 to 1,500 kilometres (310 to 930 mi) and will pass above Bhutan for three to four minutes four to five times a day. Its lifespan is projected to be six to nine months though reportedly it can last up to two years. BHUTAN-1's two cameras will be used to capture satellite imagery of Bhutan to help assess the country's glaciers, lakes, and forest cover. It will also provide basic communication services and will also be used to study radiation effects on satellites in general.[2] While BHUTAN-1 was built solely by the Bhutanese, the satellite will be jointly controlled an operated by the Bhutan, Malaysia and the Philippines.[3]

BHUTAN-1 will be tracked from the ground station operated by Bhutan's Information and Communications Ministry after the satellite becomes operational.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Joint Global Multi Nation BIRDS 2(BIRDS 2 Satellite Project)」 衛星の完成について" [Joint Global Multi Nation BIRDS 2 (BIRDS 2 Satellite Project): The Completion of the Satellites] (PDF) (in Japanese). Kyushu Institute of Technology. 26 February 2018. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Palden, Tshering (30 June 2018). "BHUTAN-1 leaves for space". Kuensel. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Maya-1: Cube satellite latest Pinoy venture into space". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 1 July 2018. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  4. ^ Francisco, Mikael Angelo (1 July 2018). "Space To Excel: Why The First Pinoy-Made Cube Satellite Matters". FlipScience. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  5. ^ a b c "BHUTAN-1 expected to be in space by May". Kuensel. 1 February 2018. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  6. ^ Seldon, Perma (30 June 2018). "Bhutan launches its first satellite into space". The Bhutanese. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  7. ^ Panela, Shaira (29 June 2018). "Philippines launches 1st CubeSat into space". Rappler. Retrieved 4 July 2018.