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AlSAT-1 DMC Working Well In Orbit With First Use Of IP
One week into its mission, the AlSAT-1 microsatellite is performing well in orbit with commissioning by CNTS/SSTL ground station teams in Arzew and Surrey running ahead of schedule. The satellite has been stabilised, the propulsion, communications and on-board data handling systems are sound - and the imaging payload tests will commence next week.
AlSAT-1 is the first spacecraft to use Internet Protocols (IP) for routine in-orbit operations following some 12 months of successful IP demonstrations by SSTL on UoSAT-12 during 2000-2001.
For payload data recovery, AlSAT-1 is the first spacecraft to implement the CCSDS (Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems) File Delivery Protocol (CFDP) which is also operating over the IP data link at 8Mbps.
This combines the benefits of a file delivery protocol designed for space, with the use of low cost commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products for the data link layer to provide a robust and flexible communications system.
Launched into a 700km sun-synchronous orbit on board a Kosmos 3-M rocket from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia at 06:07hrs GMT on 28 November, AlSAT-1 is both Algeria's first national satellite, and the first satellite in the Surrey-led international Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC). Four follow-on spacecraft will be launched in 2003.
AlSAT-1's imaging payload will provide extremely wide swath (600km) 32-metre multispectral imaging with a four-day revisit capability worldwide. When joined in orbit by the other DMC satellites, the constellation will provide a daily imaging revisit capability worldwide for disaster relief agencies, national use and commercial exploitation.
With just a single satellite in orbit it is possible to image the same area anywhere in the world at least every four days. When the complete constellation is operational it will provide a daily imaging revisit capability worldwide -- a major factor for disaster relief agencies. The remaining four microsatellites are also being built at SSTL in collaboration with Nigeria, Turkey and the UK.
Surrey Satellite Technology Limited
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