On June 27, 2014, the Pre-Shipment Review (PSR) of the ARSAT-1 satellite was successfully concluded. It was carried out at the headquarters of INVAP S.E. (Argentine state-owned applied research company) in San Carlos de Bariloche.
The satellite provided by INVAP was officially accepted on earth by ARSAT S.A. (Argentine Company for Satellite Solutions) after the verification procedures, which proved that the ARSAT-1 is suitable at the system level, its processes are duly registered and there are no open problems. Thus, the manufacturing of all its component parts and the assembling and testing stages came to an end. This included a series of functioning tests carried out at INVAP and of environmental tests undergone at the Hi-Tech Test Center (CEATSA, in Spanish) in San Carlos de Bariloche, which belongs to ARSAT and INVAP. Both tests proved that the systems of the ARSAT-1 are properly working and that it is suitable to resist the different conditions it will be exposed to during its launching stage and its 15-year-lifetime in the deep space vacuum.
The meeting also offered ARSAT the opportunity to introduce to INVAP the logistic plan developed to move the satellite from INVAP’s headquarters in the Province of Río Negro to Kourou, the French Guianan city from where it will be launched. The launching will take place in the third four-month period of this year and will be the responsibility of ArianeSpace, the most important space company of the world in the field. Once the satellite is in orbit, ARSAT will be in charge of its operation.
The meeting, in which participated technicians, managers and authorities of ARSAT and INVAP, was also attended by the staff of the Argentine National Space Activities Commission (CONAE, in Spanish), all of which was invited to be present at the PSR.
Matías Bianchi, President of ARSAT, said: “Today, we, Argentinians, took a key step to accomplish the mission entrusted to ARSAT by the national government, which will allow the country to increase its satellite sovereignty. Only eight countries in the world are capable of manufacturing telecommunication satellites, and our country is one of them. At present, this is possible thanks to the technological policy of the national government, which has made significant investments in the satellite sector, has undertaken a fundamental task through programs aiming to the comeback of Argentine technicians and scientists now living abroad, and is strongly committed to the development of the Argentine space industry. Apart from the strategic decisions taken by Néstor Kirchner and the Argentine President, this achievement was possible thanks to the support of different national agencies whose cooperation enabled the ARSAT-1 project to get this far.”
Hector Otheguy, General Manager of INVAP, maintained: “Today an important milestone has been reached in the development of the first Argentine telecommunication satellite, ARSAT-1. The Pre-Shipment Review proved that the satellite has been designed, built and tested in accordance with ARSAT’s requirements and is suitable for the flight, so that our work in San Carlos de Bariloche has finished. In INVAP we are proud of being part, together with ARSAT, of a project that makes Argentina a member of the selected group of countries capable of building, designing and conducting highly complex satellite technological missions. The excellent teamwork, professionalism, esprit de corps and commitment prevailing in all the workers, companies and organizations involved in this mission have been fundamental to achieve such an ambitious goal, which was also the result of the priority the national government gives to the role of science and technology in the social and economic development of the country.”
The first Argentine geostationary satellite —which will transmit via Ku band with satellite connection for the whole Argentine territory— will carry video signals, and will provide Direct to Home TV (TDH, in Spanish), Internet access to be received by VSAT antennas as well as data and IP telephone services. The ARSAT-1 is 3,925 meters high and 16,416 meters long (with its solar panels extended). It has a depth of 5,037 meters and weighs 3 tons. It is expected to have a 15-year lifetime in orbit and has been designed in order to provide 99.9% service availability. According to its footprint design, the ARSAT-1 —that will orbit 36,000 km from the Earth in geostationary position 71º 8′ W— will concentrate its maximum power on the national territory, including the bases in Antarctica and Islas Malvinas. Thus, it will provide connectivity to all the regions of the country. The fact of having being designed, manufactured and tested in the country affirms Argentina’s capability for conducting highly complex technological missions.
The ARSAT-1 is the first satellite belonging to the Argentine Geostationary Telecommunications Satellite System, a satellite program of the national government committing Argentina to the design and manufacturing of three satellites of its own, their launch into orbit and their operation, with the aim of increasing the telecommunications capacity of the country as well as its ability to defend the orbital positions assigned to it and to promote the space industry development.