15 August 2014

The ARSAT-1, the first Argentine geostationary satellite, was placed today into the container that will allow its transportation. First, it will be moved by land to the airport of San Carlos de Bariloche, where it will be sent to French Guiana to be launched in mid-October. The ARSAT-1 will provide with IP telephone, data, Internet and TV services the whole Argentine territory.

On August 11 and 12, a complex maneuver was performed at the headquarters of INVAP (applied research company) in San Carlos de Bariloche in order to load the ARSAT-1 satellite into the container that will allow its transportation. The satellite —designed and assembled by INVAP according to ARSAT specifications — is planned to be moved by land to the airport of San Carlos de Bariloche on August 30. An Antonov airplane will take it to the airport of Cayenne, in French Guiana, after a stopover in Ezeiza airport to be refueled. Once in Cayenne, the satellite will be moved also by land to Kourou to be launched in mid-October.

The container has been designed so as to protect the satellite from vibrations and impacts to which it might be exposed as a consequence of transportation and storage conditions. Besides, it regulates temperature and humidity levels to provide the appropriate environment and preserve the satellite. In order to fulfill these functions, the container includes inner and outer equipment that register environmental changes.

The container comprises three parts: a covering layer to insulate it and control its inner environment conditions, a hanging framework where the satellite is placed once it is wholly assembled, and a base with a spring system to avoid vibrations during its transportation. Once placed into the container, the satellite is connected to the outside only through an air filter that regulates pressure changes during the flight. Besides, a warm/cool air conditioner keeps the inner temperature of the container in optimum levels, according to the satellite requirements, while waiting in airports or being transported by land.

Says Matías Bianchi, President of ARSAT S.A. (Argentine Company for Satellite Solutions): “The strategic decision taken by Néstor and Cristina Kirchner´s administrations to protect the orbital positions allocated to Argentina by using telecommunication satellites manufactured in the country turns Argentina into one of the very few countries in the world capable of this achievement. We have already earned international recognition for this: the ARSAT-1 was offered the best rates the international reinsurance market has ever set. The implementation of the entire satellites project has given us an enormous potential for technology transfer, especially to the Latin American region.”

According to Héctor Otheguy, CE0 of INVAP, “The ARSAT-1 is one of the greatest challenges the country has faced concerning space development. It has been possible thanks to State policies and also to more than one million working hours undertaken by members of different companies and institutions that were part of this mission, whose professionalism and esprit de corps are a milestone in the history of science and technology in our country. The ARSAT-1 is a clear example that we, Argentinians, are able to work together as a team and know how to do it.”

The ARSAT-1 is the first satellite belonging to the Argentine Geostationary Telecommunications Satellite System, a program committing Argentina to the design and manufacture of three satellites of its own, their sending into orbit and 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.
The footprint design of the ARSAT-1, which concentrates its maximum power on the national territory —including the bases in Antarctica and Islas Malvinas— , will allow to provide the same level of connectivity quality to all the regions of the country, thus complying with the national government policies aimed at narrowing the digital gap.

ARSAT is a telecommunication company founded in 2006 by the national government to develop the Argentine Geostationary Telecommunications Satellite System. Since 2010, it has also been responsible for the infrastructure and operation of other important projects depending on the National Ministry of Federal Planning, Public Investments and Services (which controls 98% of ARSAT’s shares), such as the Optical Fiber Federal Network, the technological platform of the Argentine System of Digital Terrestrial Television, and the National Data Center. Besides providing the satellite specifications, ARSAT was also in charge of the technical monitoring of the entire project. It controlled the design, the procedures followed, as well as the environmental tests carried out by the High-Tech Test Center (CEATSA, in Spanish). For this achievement, ARSAT experience in operating geostationary satellites — which are rented nowadays, but will be soon replaced by the ARSAT-1— was of paramount importance.

INVAP is a State-owned company of the Province of Río Negro that has been devoted to the design and building of complex technological systems for more than 35 years in the domestic market, and for more than 25 years at the international level. INVAP’s mission is to develop state-of-the-art technology in different industrial, scientific and applied research fields, creating high value-added “technological packages” both to attend to the needs of the national industry and to get into the foreign markets through its exports. Its main projects are focused on the following fields: nuclear industry, aerospace activities and government technical affairs, industrial technology, alternative sources of energy, and medical systems. INVAP was responsible for designing the ARSAT-1 and also for manufacturing and assembling all its component parts.