KONGSBERG technology will play a key role in the life of a recently activated microsatellite. The Norwegian Space AgencyThe new NorSat-3, launched on April 29, 2021 by Vega Flight VV 18, launched from the European Cosmodrome in Kourou, French Guiana, will be used by the Norwegian Coastal Administration to monitor maritime traffic on Norway’s busy sea routes – the satellite’s AIS and the payload of the NRD (Navigation Radar Detector) is based on KONGSBERG’s most advanced, reliable future developments in spacecraft detection.
NorSat-3 will take its place 605 km above the Earth in the polar constellation LEO (Low Earth Orbit) along with four other microsatellites. They have been in operation for years and have all exceeded their working lives, but they are still working efficiently. The new 16.5 kg satellite is designed to provide next-level functionality, so it is equipped with ASG x50 SAT-AIS receiver from KONGSBERG as its main payload – the advanced result of the fourth generation of the AIS (automatic identification system) development chronology, which spans two decades.
The ASR x50 sets a new standard for sensitivity in space-based SAT-AIS receivers, with the ability to detect even AIS Class B vessels. Extremely reliable and offering built-in redundancy, it uses next-generation collision algorithms for optimal vessel detection in areas with medium or high traffic density. Its miniature, best-in-class EEE (electrical, electronic and electromechanical) components have been selected for their principles of radiation resistance and low energy consumption.
In addition, its significant data storage is combined with multi-antenna support, superb dynamic range and reconfigurable in-orbit, Software defined radio (SDR) technology to ensure compatibility with forthcoming algorithm improvements or changes to AIS / VDES standards. As part of the new KONGSBERG eXtended Lifetime product line, the ASR x50 has been designed for LEO life for more than seven years.
Meanwhile, the smallsat secondary payload consists of an experimental NRD (Navigation Radar Detector) antenna and a receiver supplied by Norwegian Defense Research Institute (FFI) and developed in collaboration with KONGSBERG, the French space agency CNES and the German electronics company ILFA. This advanced equipment can detect and locate signals transmitted by civilian radar navigation systems that will give Norwegian Coastal Administration a more complete situational picture by including ships that do not send AIS signals for reasons ranging from errors and malfunctions to switched off transponders.
“The launch of NorSat-3 represents a significant step forward in terms of the quality and quantity of data we can receive, evaluate and share with other government organizations.,” said Arve Dimen, Director of Navigation Technology and Maritime Services, Norwegian Coastal Administration. “The benefits of safer, better-informed navigation in Norwegian waters, both now and in the future, are obvious, and for KONGSBERG’s credit, the company’s technology must be so important to our goals.. “
“Improving situational awareness for both seafarers and vessel controllers offers great benefits, and NorSat-3 is an excellent example of how microsatellites make a decisive contribution to this picture., ”Add Erland Wagsholm, Vice President of Research and Development, Kongsberg Seatex. “It also shows how KONGSBERG’s strong focus on microsatellite solutions is well adapted to Norway’s needs for monitoring large ocean areas and for maritime safety in general.”