Space Norway HEOSAT AS (HEOSAT) sole purpose is to establish broadband in the arctic. Work on the program formally began when all contracts were in place on 3 July 2019 – after several years of preparatory work.
The company CEO is Dag H. Stølan.
The ASBM Program is led by Program Manager Kjell-Ove Skare. The deliveries in the program come through a satellite project led by Oddveig Tretterud and a ground project led by Arne Jørgen Mæland. Birger Johansen is chief engineer and heads the program’s systems engineering group.
The satellite project is based on a contract with Northrop Grumman Space Systems (formerly Orbital Corporation) which will build two satellites based on the GEOstar 3 platform.
Illustration: Northrop Grumman Space Systems
About the satellites
The satellites will have the following payloads:
- X-band for the Norwegian Armed Forces
- Ka-band for Inmarsat
- A payload for the US military.
- One of the satellites will include a radiation monitoring instrument built by the Norwegian company IDEAS and ESA. This will gather information about the radiation environment in the satellite orbits and contribute important information for the planning of radiation protection for the next generation of Galileo satellites (Europe’s navigation system).
An agreement has been entered into with SpaceX for launch on a Falcon 9 rocket, and the expected launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California will be in 2024.
The satellites will run in a TAP (Three Apogee Period) orbit with the highest orbital altitude (apogee) of 43500 km and the lowest orbital altitude of 8100 km (perigee). The satellites will run in the same orbital plane with a 63-degree inclination and 8 hours separation. Each orbit takes 16 hours, and by employing two satellites, we provide full coverage throughout the Arctic north of 65 ° N (see animation). In addition, the satellites are active for about 10 hours in each orbit. This gives the satellites up to 2 hours of overlap where both satellites are operational while covering the entire area north of 65 degrees.
Arctic Satellite Broadband Mission (ASBM) programme
The Arctic Satellite Broadband Mission (ASBM) programme is in the implementation phase, Step 3 with regards to previous process description. A decision to initiate the programme was made in 2019. The programme consists of two satellites with associated ground segments. The satellites will follow a highly elliptical orbit over the Arctic and will provide continuous broadband coverage north of the 65° N latitude. The satellites and payloads are under construction at Northrop Grumman in the United States. Each satellite weighs about 2 tons and measures 3x3x4 metres. With solar panels in extended position, the wingspan is 27 metres. One of the payloads, a radiation monitoring instrument, is being built by the Norwegian company IDEAS in collaboration with the Norwegian Space Agency and ESA.
An agreement has been entered into with SpaceX for launch on a Falcon 9 rocket, and the expected launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base is 2024. In 2019, an agreement was entered into with KSAT for construction of the ground segment for the programme. In parallel with the construction of the satellites, Space Norway and KSAT are jointly establishing a satellite control centre in Tromsø, Norway for the operation of the satellites when they become operational in 2024.
The picture is from the factory at Northrop Grumman Tactical Space in Dulles, Virginia. In the picture: Oddveig Tretterud, Space Project Director at Space Norway Heosat AS.
Photo: Northrop Grumman
- Northrop Grumman GEOStar3-123-10
- 15 years service / 16 years fuel
- Mass - dry weight
- 1925 kg and 2030 kg
- Mass - with fuel
- 3505 kg and 3695 kg. In total 7200 kg
- Solar panel effect (End-of-life)
- 7235 W
- Battery capacity
- 9910 Wh
- Bi-Prop Transfer Orbit Monoprop On-Orbit Stationkeeping Bi-Prop Orbit Maintenance
- X-Band payload Ka-Band payload EPS-R payload NORM radiation monitor (on ASBM-1)
Collaboration between HEOSAT og KSAT
A collaboration between Space Norway HEOSAT and KSAT has been established regarding the operations of the ASBM-satellites. More information to follow later.