Spaceflight Insider

Russia restores contact with AngoSat-1 satellite

Angosat-1 banner image credit GGPEN

Image Credit: GGPEN

Russia has stated that it has restored contact with Angola’s first satellite, AngoSat-1, that was launched by a Zenit rocket on Tuesday, December 26, 2017. 

According to RSC Energia, which manufactured the satellite and controls its operations in space, its operators worked on the issue and on Thursday, Dec. 28, telemetry data indicated that the spacecraft’s systems are operating normally.

“Experts from the Energia Corporation have received telemetry data from the AngoSat satellite launched by the Zenit-3SLBF space rocket from the Baikonur spaceport on December 26. The satellite has provided telemetry data showing that all its systems settings are in order,” RSC Energia said in a statement.

The Zenit rocket with AngoSat-1 lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 19:00 GMT (2:00 p.m. EST) on Tuesday, Dec. 26. The flight lasted some nine hours until the spacecraft separated from the launch vehicle’s Fregat-SB upper stage at 03:54 UTC on Wednesday (10:54 p.m. EST on Tuesday).

Although AngoSat-1 was successfully injected into its targeted geostationary orbit, with its power-generating solar arrays unfolding and initial contact established with ground control, the satellite went silent just a few minutes later. Within hours after the malfunction occurred, RSC Energia acknowledged the problem in a statement, informing that the company’s experts are working around the clock to resolve this issue.

The exact cause of the malfunction is still unknown; however, TASS reports it could be due to issues with the charge of the satellite’s battery.

A similar problem to that with AngoSat-1 occurred after the launch of the Foton-M № 4 satellite in July 2014 when that spacecraft ceased responding to commands issued to it from the ground.

AngoSat-1 is based on RSC Energia’s Universal Space Platform (USP), weighs around 1.55 metric tons, and features two deployable solar arrays. It is equipped with 16 C-band and 6 Ku-band transponders; its designed lifetime is 15 years. The satellite was built to provide television broadcasting and telecommunications services in the Ku-band within the territory of the Republic of Angola as well as C-band coverage over the entire African continent and southern parts of Europe.

 

 

 

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Tomasz Nowakowski is the owner of Astro Watch, one of the premier astronomy and science-related blogs on the internet. Nowakowski reached out to SpaceFlight Insider in an effort to have the two space-related websites collaborate. Nowakowski's generous offer was gratefully received with the two organizations now working to better relay important developments as they pertain to space exploration.

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