The three small satellites were launched in a launch adapter developed by ISIS, called ISIPOD. The ISIPOD “piggybacked” on the launch of a Chinese high resolution earth observation satellite, GF-1. This was the first time ISIS partnered with Chinese launch service provider China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC). However, today’s launch was unique in more ways than one: as the launch date nearly coincides with the abdication of Queen Beatrix and investiture of Prince Willem-Alexander on April 30th, ISIS decided to use this launch opportunity to place a special commemorative coin into orbit. The coin is fixed to the ISIPOD (and will hence not contribute to space debris), and will be orbiting, some 645 km above the earth’s surface, for several years to come.
The coin will pass over The Netherlands on Queensday at around 11:00AM, 12:36PM; 2:13PM and 3:51PM Dutch time!
Check out the video from Dutch news broadcaster NOS here (in Dutch). For more information on the launch, please check out the ISIS press release (in Dutch only). More background on the GF-1 satellite here.