The ARSAT-1 keeps on giving very good news. On November 18, the In Orbit Test (IOT) carried out to verify all the satellite’s subsystems in its geostationary orbit concluded successfully. The testing procedure, conducted from the Benavídez Ground Station by a group of ARSAT’s and INVAP’s technicians, proved that the first Argentine telecommunication satellite is properly working in flight.
The In Orbit Test, which began on October 31, showed positive results as regards the performance of the satellite subsystems in charge of the thermal, power, aviation and payload controls. In relation to the platform, every equipment of the service module was checked (on-board computer, power control unit, interface module) as well as sensors (stellar, solar and gyroscopic sensors), actuators (such as the inertia wheels that balance the satellite movement and help to stabilize it) and heaters (which keep the satellite temperature at the operative level, between 20ºC and 40ºC, when it does not receive sunlight).
The payload in flight was also checked. The first stage involved the testing of the nominal equipment (signal receivers, amplifiers and transmitters); then, the redundant equipment was checked (communication receivers in the second stage, and signal amplifiers in the third). In the fourth stage, the so-called mapping of the antenna, controlling the satellite “attitude” with respect to the earth through slight movements towards the four cardinal points, was conducted. Thus, it could also be verified from the Benavídez Ground Station that the communication antenna has the power required for providing services to all regions of our country.
Finally, other tests (such as those on the coaxial cables and waveguides, etc.) whose results were also positive were implemented at special stages.
The group of technicians and engineers that carried out the IOT was focused on this task from October 31 —two days before the arrival of the Arsat-1 to position 81° West. They were organized in two shifts and worked six days a week from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Most tests were done in that orbital position to avoid radiofrequency interference, since there is no other satellite in it. The Arsat-2, expected to be launched next year, will also be placed into this orbital position, which was allocated to Argentina by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
Matías Bianchi, President of ARSAT S.A., said that “During the development of this 7-year-project, ARSAT made a number of important management decisions to increase the chances of success of the Arsat-1 mission, which would mean a leap forward in the Argentine space sector development. The In Orbit Test reaffirms that we have made very good decisions about the satellite specifications, the selection of international and national suppliers, the follow-up and control during the assemblage and the functional and environmental test processes, as well as the satellite assurance, which made the first Argentine geostationary satellite to be subjected to an intense auditing and review process. We would like to thank all the suppliers involved, and especially INVAP, for the great teamwork done.
We will go on making our best to contribute as good as possible to the space development policy of Cristina Kirchner’s administration, undertaken with great commitment and courage in pursuit of the digital inclusion of every Argentinian. We are fully convinced that we count on the firm support of the Secretariat of Communications and the Ministry of Federal Planning, both of which have made a significant investment in the development of the Argentine Geostationary Telecommunications Satellite System.