The Benavídez Ground Station, belonging to ARSAT S.A., conducted the apogee maneuver which allowed the ARSAT-2 to reach a second, higher orbit from the one where it was left by the launcher.
During these maneuvers the satellite’s main engine was turned on at the orbit point in which it was at the greatest distance from the earth, whereupon the satellite was transported to higher circular orbits. This is the second time a Latin American country has sent a geostationary satellite into orbit. The first occasion involved the launching of the ARSAT-1, which took place last year.
The operations were carried out today very early in the morning, two days after the launching of the ARSAT-2 from French Guiana, according to the following schedule:
2:49:00 a.m. Preparations to start the apogee engine (LAE) began at the ARSAT S.A. operation center in Benavídez. The procedure involved pointing the satellite in the direction in which it would be accelerated (otherwise, it was always facing the sun).
6:06:31 a.m. The apogee engine was started. This maneuver was automatically executed through an inner control software developed in Argentina. It was carried out to correct the direction of the satellite in case of changes caused by the impact when being switched on and by the loss of alignment or mass to which it might be exposed while moving on. The propellers were also turned on. In the first stage, the propulsion system generated corrective pulses every half second. On the basis of previous experiences, pulses were spaced out at two-second intervals, thus optimizing the fuel consumption. The temperature of the engine and its combustion vessel, as well as the pressure inside the tanks and the potential disturbances, were constantly under control.
7:02:00 a.m. According to the preestablished procedure, the apogee engine was turned off and the resulting parameters were verified.
7:48:00 a.m. Once the relevant data were downloaded from the satellite, it was reorientated to the sun and the maneuver came to an end.