A first attempt in l995 to launch the satellite failed due to the malfunctioning of a newly converted Russian intercontinental ballistic missile, transformed from a vehicle of war into a space launcher. Undaunted by this failure the Technion decided to proceed forward and based on the lessons of the first microsatellite a new Gurwin-II TechSat was developed including even more experiments in space.
A fully proven Zenith launcher was chosen to bring the satellite into space.
The Israel Space Agency (ISA) was established in 1983 as a governmental organization within the framework of the Ministry of Science and Technology. Under the leadership of its Director General- Technion Alumnus Aby Har-Even, the emphasis of ISA has been to build an infrastructure geared to achieving optimal economic outcomes by making use of Israel’s technological advantages in selected areas, notably small satellites and remote sensing. Within this framework, ISA helped in providing the necessary funding to advance the development of microsatellites at the Technion.
In recent years, the utilization of small LEO satellites for scientific, commercial, and military applications became widespread in the world. Generally accepted nowadays is splitting of the small satellites in mini-, micro-, nano-, and pico- subclasses, according to the values of their masses.
Gurwin-TechSat satellite, By its basic characteristics belongs to the micro-satellites sub-class, with mass of 50 kg, and cost of about US$ 5M. The total costs include those of design, manufacturing, testing, Ground Station equipment, pre-launch and launch services, and about 7 years in-flight maintenance.
The review of the Gurwin-TechSat mission gives evidence, that in the micro-satellites sub-class it belongs to the most cost-efficient ones, with low power consumption, stable hardware functioning, and reliable and simple attitude control. A number of the implemented on-board experiments provided a good deal of data of scientific and technological value. In Gurwin-TechSat a compactness of a micro-satellite is combined with high performance and versatility, proper to larger satellites. Its manufacturing and the ground tests took less than 30 months. As was demonstrated by the mission, a substantial reduction of the satellite mass, size, and power consumption can be achieved without any deterioration of its basic characteristics, such as mission life, efficiency of the payload, precision of the measurements, etc. The platform itself, as well as the flight experience gained during its mission, may be used in designing and manufacturing similar microsatellites with new and different research payloads.