Algeria, on December 10, 2020, celebrated the third anniversary of the launch into space of the first Algerian telecommunications satellite, Alcomsat-1. Placed in geostationary orbit at 36,000 km altitude, at orbital position 24.8 West in 2017. It is characterized by total weight of 5225 Kg (total weight at launch) and an estimated lifespan of 15 years. It provides broadcast TV, Internet and VSAT services.
Two GCS (Ground Control Segment) and GAS (Ground Application System) control stations, located in Bouchaoui – Algiers and the Boughezoul – Médéa station, are made available to ensure control and access to the satellite, maintenance ground equipment and the operation of space services.
- In-orbit control of the Alcomsat-1 satellite
Since the launch of the satellite and the completion of the in-orbit testing phase and the verification of the system’s functionalities, the teams of engineers responsible for controlling the satellite (SCC team) in Bouchaoui and Boughezoul, have taken charge of the operations. Maintaining the satellite in orbit by carrying out the following activities:
- Continuous monitoring of the state of health of the satellite;
- Orbit calculations for determining the upward commands and setpoints necessary for the orbital correction of the satellite;
- Transmission to the satellite of commands and instructions for orbit corrections;
- Development of mechanisms and plans for monitoring the state of health and the orbit of the satellite, continuously (7 days a week and 24 hours a day), which requires organizational measures around a 7 days a week system. H24.
- Satellite payload access control
Several types of activities are carried out daily by the control team:
- Supervise the activity of Ku and Ka-band transponders;
- Daily calibration of traffic monitoring systems;
- Technical support to customers (ATS and TDA): satellite access tests, link reports, approval tests of antennas planned for acquisitions, etc.;
- Several networks were switched to ALCOMSAT-1 during the year 2020, such as:
- CHU BLIDA network which was installed in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic;
- ENAGEO network to ensure the interconnection of the various subsidiaries of this establishment;
- Integration of the various Mobilis links between BTS and BSC in several areas;
- Integration of a large network of the mobile operator Djezzy which occupies a large bandwidth.
- Operation of the television and broadcasting service (MMBS)
- Launch on Alcomsat-1 of the national public TV package in HD quality (National Program, Algeria Channel, A3, TV4, TV5);
- Launch on Alcomsat-1 of the national public TV package in SD quality (National Program, Algeria Channel, A3, TV4, TV5);
- Broadcast of 57 Radio programs (48 local channels, 1 international radio, 3 national channels (I, II, III), Jil FM and 2 thematic channels (Koran radio, Culture), Sahel radio and UFC radio);
- Addition of the TV6 Généraliste channel in HD and SD quality;
- Addition of the TV7 EL Maarifa channel in HD quality (educational channel);
- Addition of the TV8 EDHAKIRA channel in HD quality;
- Launch of the TV package for private national channels in HD and SD quality.
- Operation of Ku and Ka services
CEST engineers ensured the installation of VSAT stations in the different regions of Algeria: Algiers, Bejaia, Ghardaïa and Oran. These achievements are essentially based on the deployment of the VSAT Fixed and Mobile stations of the emergency telecommunications system via the Algerian Alcomsat-1 satellite in Ku band, and Ka:
- Data transmission, VoIP, Visio-Conference, and the transfer of helicopter flows to the services of the Directorate General of Civil Protection (DGPC);
- ORSEC practical simulation exercise of an earthquake in the wilaya of Boumerdes carried out on October 24, 2020, with the General Directorate of Civil Protection (DGPC), and the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications;
- Collaboration between ASAL and the General Directorate of National Security, for data transmission, VoIP, Visio-Conference, and the transfer of a Helicopter Video stream to the centres of the DGSN via the Algerian satellite Alcomsat-1 in Ka-band.
- Maintenance activities of ground control and operating stations of the Alcomsat-1 satellite
The ground station maintenance team ensured:
- Periodic preventive maintenance of equipment and facilities: includes regular inspection and verification, updating, configuration, calibration and maintenance;
- The pointing and regular calibration of the station antennas at the same orbital position of Alcomsat-1 (24.8 ° W);
- The calibration of the different transmission chains;
- Deployment of Ka stations to perform test or supervision actions.
- Strong current team activities:
The ‘strong current’ team ensured the monitoring and periodic inspection of the electrical installations in various buildings of the CEST, the quality control of the electrical supply as well as the support to the various services (technical, administrative and civil engineering).