The Algerian Space Agency (ASAL) held a ceremony at the Space Technology Center, in Arzew to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the launch of the first Algerian satellite, ALSAT-1. The Earth observation satellite was launched on November 28, 2002, from the Plesetsk cosmodrome, in Russia and acquired 1226 images, 70% of which were in the national territory.
According to a press release by ASAL, the ceremony was physically attended by the Directors from the agency’s four operational entities – Space Technology Center (CTS), Space Applications Center (CAS), Satellite Development Center (CDS), Telecommunications Systems Operation Center (CEST), – the local authorities of the Daira d’Arzew, and the engineers who worked on the ALSAT-1 project. However, ASAL executives participated via video – conference.
In his speech, Azzedine Oussedik, The Director General of ASAL, paid tribute to all the engineers and researchers who made the project successful. In addition, he highlighted the pioneering role played by the CNTS in launching the development of space applications such as space geodesy, space remote sensing, geomatics and spatial instrumentation since its creation in 1987 as a result of the merger between the National School of Geodesic Sciences (MDN) and the Spatial Study of Radiation (ESR) laboratory of the HCR (High Commission for Research).
ASAL’s press release stated that ALSAT-1 operated satisfactorily for more than seven years, despite its five-year designed lifespan. In addition, the satellite carried earth-imaging cameras, which provided 32 metres resolution images utilised in different industries to monitor land use planning, environmental monitoring and natural resources management.
ALSAT-1, a medium-resolution earth observation satellite, was Algeria’s first space project led by a team from the Center National des Techniques Spatiales (Arzew) in partnership with the Surrey Space Center (United Kingdom). Consequently, this breakthrough led to several projects mobilising human means and resources, enabling the competence of more than 1200 engineers and researchers distributed across ASAL’s operational centres.