Chimi Dema 

In an effort to bring the country’s focus on space science and technology, the Department of Information Technology and Telecom (DITT) would be launching Bhutan Space Week next month.

The event, this year would be observed from February 17 to 23, to commemorate the 40th birth anniversary of His Majesty The King and also to promote, educate and outreach space science and technology.

At a press conference on January 28, DITT officials said that a series of activities including space seminar, space quiz competition and space-themed movie screening, among others would be held during the week.

The seminar would highlight the country’s first venture into space technology including the development of first satellite CubeSat Bhutan-1, which was released into space and then into the orbit in 2018.

The seminar would also present various space activities and application of satellite, an official said.

The students from classes IX to XII can take part in the space quiz in groups of four. The official said that a preliminary test will be conducted across the country to select the best 10 teams.

In the meantime, eligible students wishing to participate can register with DITT until February 8.

The winners, officials said would be rewarded with prizes including robot car development kits and personal telescopes.

The event would also demonstrate the operation of BHUTAN-1 which can be tracked from the ground station at the ministry.

BHUTAN-1, currently operating in a low altitude of about 500km to 1,500km, passes around the country three-four times a day for five minutes, a press release from the ministry stated.

It was developed by Bhutanese engineers at the Kyushu Institute of Technology as part of their master degree course under the BIRDS-2 Project supported by Japan.

Although an initial estimate showed the lifespan of six to nine months, BHUTAN-1 has been in the orbit for more than a year now.