Vatican prepares to launch Pope Francis' message of hope into space via Spei Satelles
Vatican/IBNS: A message of faith and hope, originally delivered by Pope Francis during the 2020 coronavirus lockdown, will be transmitted into space, the Vatican announced on Monday.
The Dicastery for Communication at the Vatican has collaborated with the Italian Space Agency to send Pope Francis' message of peace and hope into orbit on the "Spei Satelles" satellite, also known as the "Guardian of Hope".
A "nano book" has been created from the speech of the pontiff as he prayed alone in St Peter's Square, which measures less than two millimetres in width. This nano book is set to be launched into orbit on June 10th.
The nano book will be sent into space aboard a specially designed satellite that will orbit the Earth at an altitude of approximately 525 kilometres.
The satellite and nano book will be launched into space on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket which will place it in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) at an altitude of 525km.
The satellite will take off from Vandenberg Space Force Base located in California.
According to Giorgio Saccoccia, the president of the agency, the Vatican requested for, "a solution that would allow the Holy Father's words of hope to cross the earth's borders and reach from space the greatest possible number of women and men on our troubled planet."
The nano book, produced by the Polytechnic University of Turin, is as small as the tip of a pen and requires sophisticated nanotechnology reading devices for legibility.
However, an ordinary UHF-band radio can receive a broadcast transmitted by the satellite on 437.5 MHz, enabling anyone to listen to excerpts from the Pope's book as the satellite passes overhead.
The satellite has the potential to remain in orbit for a maximum of 12 years. However, the radio transmitter's duration of broadcasting will be limited to 6 months to a year due to battery-related constraints.
Fr. Luca Peyron, who leads the Digital Apostolate of Turin, told reporters that the Spei Satellites carry a prophetic message of hope, spread through the marvels of advanced technology.
“Even though the nano book cannot be read with the naked eye,” he said, “it will be there, orbiting our planet. It thus becomes a sign and an icon, just like Pope Francis as he stood alone in that empty St. Peter’s Square.”
In 2017, the pontiff had a video call with astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS), during which he inquired about "man's place in the universe." This project is not the first instance of the pontiff's connection to space.