Algeria’s first nanosatellite, Alsat-1N marked its sixth orbital anniversary on 26 September, after it was launched in 2016. The satellite’s design lifespan was initially put at one year but it has continued to function effectively, performing more than 32,000 rotations around the Earth.
The satellite’s developement was part of a cooperation project between the Algerian Space Agency (ASAL) and the United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA). It is a Cubesat 3U type nanosatellite and integrates three scientific and technological payloads:
- Thin film solar cells;
- A 2nd generation Compact CMOS Camera Demonstrator (C3D2) integrating three cameras with different fields of view; and
- An AstroTube Boom, a retractable telescopic mast that can deploy up to 1.5 metres.
The Alsat-1N team continues to maintain the ground segment equipment and the proper functioning of the satellite subsystems. This has been the determining factor in the satellite’s actual life’s exceptional extension in orbit. Since its launch, the team has acquired good experience covering all the main lines of the control station. These include in-orbit monitoring operations, data collection and analysis, preparation of plans for the next passages and exploitation of data as well as the development and improvement of the mission control system.
Since its launch in 2016, the Alsat-1N satellite has achieved the following:
- Monitoring more than 8220 passages in real-time;
- 1820 downloaded files;
- 15 complete images in full resolution;
- More than 200 thumbnails:
- 81,496 commands sent in real-time;
- 1,374,502 telemetries received in real-time; and
- 42,152 file packages downloaded.
Furthermore, the Alsat-1N station received several students and trainees in 2022. This was within an educational framework to involve universities and research centres in space applications. As a result, the students and trainees familiarised themselves with ground station equipment and learned the different operations and activities performed by the Alsat-1N team.