Arctic Satellite Broadband Mission

These are the most important milestones in our ASBM adventure – all the way from idea and concept through to launch and operation. Links to different articles give you a deeper understanding of the work as it progresses and how the project shapes into form. 

ASBM Milestones


The Norwegian Space Centre and Telenor Satellite Broadcasting initiate the ASK study (Arctic Satellite Communication) for an assesment of arctic satellite broadband.



Space Norway (est 2014) initiates the ASBM project with the intention of establishing a feasible business case. A preliminary design based on Ka-, Ku-, and X band is developed. Contact is made with several international satellite companies and possible customers, including Inmarsat and the Armed Forces. In order to be seen as a credible player, substantial equity is needed, and Space Norway sends a request for such equity to its owner The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries.


– Space Norway applies for landing rights with the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) for civilian broadband in the USA, and is granted such permissions on November 3rd.
– The authorities conduct a Concept Study followed by an external Quality Assurance for satellite based broadband in the Arctic.

Don’t interfere! – Frequencies in space Landing rights in the US – and the Federal Communications Commission


– In June, Parliament approves a conditioned equity infusion of USD 139M for the realisation of Arctic broadband.

– Space Norway sends an RFP (Request for Proposal) to six different satellite companies. The proposals are received in December, and at the end of December, two companies are selected for further talks.

– The Norwegian Department of Defence negotiates a deal with the US Department of Defence about an inclusion of military payloads on board Space Norway’s satellites.



The subsidiary company HEOSAT is established, and now things are starting to move very quickly. Within  a few weeks in May and June the following milestones all fall into place:

-A deal with Northrop Grumman is signed on May 20th on the building of two satellites at their facility in Dulles, Virginia, USA.

-A deal is made with KSAT on building the ground segment for the programme, including several nine meters antennas for satellite communication.

-A deal is made with Inmarsat about the Ka-band payload.

-A deal is made with the Armed Forces about building a payload for military x-band and an integration of a US Air Force payload for American military communication in the North.

-A deal on launching the satellites is made with SpaceX on June 29th.

-A letter of intent is signed with IDEAS about delivery of a radiation monitor on one of the satellites.

-A letter of intent is signed with DNB on a bank loan financing part of the programme.

-The Government confirms infusion of equity for up to USD 101M and they inform the Parliament on the last day before summer holidays.

-On July 3rd, all contracts are approved by Space Norway’s Board of Executives. This is called the Effective Day of Contract (ECD) and the building of the satellites commences on this day.

-Space Norway’s Field Office at Northrop Grumman’s is established with personnel from Space Norway and Inmarsat (now Viasat). In 2022 more man power is added with staff from the US Space Force.

Our US Field Office

2020 - The planning and building phase


– An important milestone is reached when finishing the Critical Design Review.

– Satellite Operations Centre (SOC) is established and engineers and management are hired.

Flight Dynamics – how to pilot a satellite How to build a satellite – Preliminary and Critical Design Review

2021 - The building phase

-Northrop Grumman’s factory is in full swing working on the satellites and the payloads are being built. Through 2021 and 2022, the contracts for building the satellite units are placed with sub contractors where they are built and tested. Then they are delivered at Northrop Grumman’s who start building and testing modules.

-The three gateway antennas and the satellite operations centre at Bardufoss and Tromsø are finished.

-The contract with IDEAS, the EU Commission and the Norwegian Space Centre on radiation data for the next generation Galileo satellites is signed.

New technology from IDEAS and Space Norway keeps EU satellites safe

2022 - System testing

-Several milestones are reached when the all the satellite units are put together in Module Mate. After this, the test period enters a new phase called Single Line Flow, which means that the tests are made on the system as a unit. From January to August, our satellite engineers attended satellite operations courses with British satellite company Avanti in the UK.

-In June, the End-to-End testing of the ground based communication lines are carried out. In October, responsibility for the satellite control systems is transferred to Space Norway HEOSAT.

-In June, our personell in the US Field Office expands, adding people from the US Space Force.

Read the articles that elaobrate on these milestones below:

Minister of Trade and Industry visits Space Norway in Dulles, USA Important test of the ground stations for ASBM Practice makes perfect Preparing for launch

2023 - More testing

All elements are mounted on the satellites, and the satellites look the way they do when finished and ready to be launched into orbit. In this very important phase, the satellites are tested on a system level. They are tested for the different environments they go through during launch and all through their life span in orbit. One of the most expansive tests is the Thermal Vacuum Test, exposing the satellites to extreme cold and warm temperatures. Later, there are Environmental tests for vibration, acoustics and performance. The antennas are tested separately in this phase.

ASBM gets hot flashes – the TVAC test Rocking our satellites – ASBM in concert Long distance security

2024 - The final tests and finishing

The last tests are conducted, both on the satellites and in the ground segment. The satellites are brought from Dulles to Vandenberg for launch

Near Field Range test – Reaching one of ASBM’s last major milestones Compatibility-test for the ASBM satellites – getting close to launch