Countdown to the Launch of EgyptSAT-A

Model Satellite. Source; Pixabay

It is officially few days to the launch of EgyptSAT-A, the satellite which was built to replace Egyptsat 2. The satellite is jointly built by Egypt’s National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences together with RKK Energiya in Russia. The imaging payload was developed by OAO Peleng and NIRUP Geoinformatsionnye Sistemy in Belarus.

EgyptSat A is Egypt’s second Earth remote-sounding satellite. The satellite was planned to be launched in November 2018, but was delayed to February 2019, precisely 21st of February.

The Egyptian satellite which is designed for remote sensing of the Earth is equipped with modern optical-electronic equipment with high spatial resolution. The spacecraft can shoot in the visible and infrared spectra in the panchromatic (black and white) and multispectral ranges. The maximum swath is 1,400 kilometers.

Egyptsat A is an improved version of EgyptSat 2 which was manufactured by the Ukrainian enterprise Yuzhnoye design bureau and launched in 2014 from the Baikonur cosmodrome using the Dnepr launch vehicle. Egyptsat-A is based on RKK Energiya’s 559GK bus, which inherits technologies from their USP platform. The satellite features SPD-70 electric engines using Xenon. It features an improved opto-electronic system and onboard control system, high-speed on-board radio link and solar cells with increased efficiency.

On January 21, 2019, China agreed to grant $72 million for the EgyptSat-2 Earth observation satellite programme which is the third grant provided by China to Egypt for the satellite project, with an initial grant of $23 million given in 2016, and a second grant worth $45 million provided in 2018.

Unlike its predecessor, EgyptSat-A will receive an improved optical-electronic system and on-board control system, a high-speed on-board radio link and improved solar panels. The share of Russian components in EgyptSat-A is significantly higher than in EgyptSat-2, however, the exact percentage ratio between domestic and imported components is unknown. On the satellite, to be installed is the domestic X-band transmitters, which have been successfully tested on the ISS. The mass of the satellite is about one ton. It will be put into orbit at an altitude of 800 by 500 kilometers, where it must work for at least 11 years. 

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