Preparing for launch

A group of engineers and operators from Space Norway are currently visiting the British satellite operator Avanti in Goonhilly in Cornwall, to attend satellite operations courses. The team is strengthening their competence in satellite control and operations as a preparation for the upcoming launch of the ASBM (ASBM, Arctic Satellite Broadband Mission) satellites in 2023.

Satellite communications is understandably associated with strict security requirements and require highly dependable ground systems. The satellite operations control centre monitors the satellites 24/7. Telemetry is downloaded from the satellites and processed to ensure that all systems are operating per specification. The satellite operators work continuously in conjunction with the customers to qualify the mission requirements. The uniqueness of ASBM due to its highly elliptical choice of orbit as well as the close collaboration with its international partners Inmarsat, the Norwegian Armed Forces and the US Space Command, places significance on the development of a solid organization for satellite operations.

The Norwegian engineers are trained for a duration of two months at the British operator Avanti. Avanti was chosen for this assignment because it utilizes the same satellite operations software as Space Norway has implemented for ASBM. By participating in this training program, Space Norway ensures that its operations team holds solid competence in satellite operations prior to launching the satellites next year. Birger Johansen is leading the engineers from Space Norway and KSAT, and he believes they have benefited greatly from attending this training program in Goonhilly. – Our personnel collaborate very well with the satellite operators from Avanti. We have met persons with Avanti who hold a similar mindset as what we are used to from our organizations. There is a flat hierarchical structure in the company, and they share the same approach to problem-solving. The cultural similarities enable the training to be particularly efficient in readying our team for operating the satellites after launch, and contributes to significantly reducing the operational risk, states a satisfied Johansen.   

The two Norwegian HEO-satellites shall be operational within one and a half year. They represent the first satellites from Western space industry to circulate the Earth in high-elliptical orbits across the two poles.

The ground stations have already been built in Tromsø and at Bardufoss and are ready to receive and process the information coming from the two satellites. Space Norway and KSAT are collaborating closely to prepare a round-the-clock, 24/7 organization for operating the ground stations once the satellites are operational in orbit.

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