Algerian Space Agency (ASAL) is celebrating the third anniversary of its mini-constellation of two small satellites in space.
The satellites launched in low earth orbit on 26 September 2016, were designed for a nominal lifespan of five years and at an altitude of 670km, the mini-constellation, which comprises of AlSat-1B and AlSat-2B, continues to deliver critical mission objectives for the Algerian space programme.
According to ASAL: “AlSat-1B provides images with a wide swath of 140 km, or each scene covers an overall area of 22500Km², with an average time of revisit of 04 days, with total coverage of the national territory in 29 days. Images are produced in panchromatic and multispectral modes with resolutions of 12m / 24m in Standard mode and 12m / 12m in “enhanced” mode respectively”.
Since the launch of the AlSat-1B satellite in 2016 to date, the 103kg satellite has generated 6052 products covering a total area of more than 136 million km².
Similarly, AlSat-2B has carried out more than “16048 orbits around the earth, which correspond to more than 700 million kilometres. The satellite has provided more than 54,976 Panchromatic and Multispectral image-scenes, nearly half of which are intended to respond primarily to the concerns of sustainable national development and that of the African continent,” ASAL’s data reveals.
“The satellite follows precisely the procedure put in place by our engineers for the evolution of its local shooting time. Indeed, this approach has made it possible to improve the illumination conditions of the areas covered, from a local time of 09:30 ‘to the launch of the satellite to 10:02’ on September 2018, then to 10:08 in September 2019, without any correction manoeuvre on the inclination of its orbit”.
Now three years and counting, AlSat-1B and 2B continue their mission to “provide quality images and data, which are used in the project framework for the benefit of the different sectors, as well as in the context of scientific applications and applications research”.
ASAL is also celebrating the third anniversary in orbit of its first nanosatellite AlSat-1N. Launched alongside AlSat-1B and 2B in 2016, AlSat-1N has achieved its mission objectives and far exceeded its one-year nominal lifespan by two additional years.
Joseph Ibeh is a Mandela Washington Fellow and Senior Analyst at Space in Africa. His experience spans industry research and market analysis with a focus on African-grown NewSpace companies, commercial space industry, national space programmes and real-life application of space science for sustainable development in Africa.