A third apogee maneuver was conducted in the Benavídez Ground Station, which allowed the satellite to reach a new orbit located 29,751 km above sea level at the point in which it was nearest to the earth. A fourth maneuver has been already planned to transport the second Argentine telecommunication satellite even nearer to the geostationary orbit, located almost 36,000 km above sea level.
The apogee maneuver that allowed the ARSAT-2 to reach its fourth orbit was carried out from the ground station belonging to ARSAT S.A. in the city of Benavídez.
When the satellite’s main engine was started (LAE), the speed of the ARSAT-2 increased to 474.87 m/s, thus allowing the satellite to reach its fourth orbit, in which it is now moving on with the engine switched off. This fourth orbit is 29,751 km high at its perigee with an almost Equatorial inclination of 0.25°, whereas the third orbit, reached on Sunday very early in the morning, was 14,021 km high at its perigee with an inclination of 1.57°. The satellite’s propulsion and self-control subsystems worked properly. The ARSAT-2 kept on moving around the earth.
The group of technicians of ARSAT S.A. in charge of sending the second Argentine telecommunication satellite into orbit included about 20 persons who had conducted the same successful operation with the ARSAT-1. On this second occasion, the prior training also involved several launching and service simulations. To send the satellite into orbit the group divided into subgroups, which allowed them to work under a 7 x 24 system —that is, to control the satellite 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The operations were carried out from Benavídez’s ground station, which is the only control center for telecommunication satellites’ missions in Latin America.
Sending a geostationary satellite into orbit implies making the satellite reach an orbital position around the earth almost 36,000 km above sea level on the Equator. Any object located in this orbit may keep on moving around our planet without changing its relative position with respect to any place on it, which makes it ideal for placing telecommunication satellites since there is no need to modify the orientation of the receiver antennas.