Norwegian satellite to be launched

AISSat-1, the first Norwegian satellite developed in Norway, will be launched from India in the beginning of May.The satellite will be used to improve surveillance of maritime activities in the High North.

AISSat-1, the first Norwegian satellite developed in Norway, will be launched from India in the beginning of May.The satellite will be used to improve surveillance of maritime activities in the High North.

AISSat-1 is a nano satellite measuring 20 x 20 x 20 cm. It weighs six kilograms and is shaped like a cube.

The purpose of the satellite is to improve surveillance of maritime activities in the High North.

AIS (Automaatic Identification System) is a short range coastal traffic system used by ships and Vessel Traffic Services around the world.

AIS is required to be fitted on every seagoing vessel of 300 gross tons or more. Its purpose is to help ship crews to avoid collision with other vessels as well as to allow maritime authorities to track and monitor ship movements.

Today's AIS allows ships to communicate with other ships and land based base stations through VHF signals.

This means that it is not possible to communicate outside the field of vision.

An AIS receiver in a satellite will extend the range considerably and make it easier to monitor ship traffic and fishing in the High North.

The altitude of the satellite gives the AIS receiver a long range and the satellite can therefore make observations over large sea areas. The signals are strong enough to be received on a satellite in low Earth orbit.

It is believed that the low traffic density in the High North requires one receiver and antennae only to handle the expected volume of AIS messages.

AISSat-1 is being launched in order to test these presumptions.

The Norwegian Space Centre is project owner.