At 00:40 Beijing time on December 11, 2017, the Alcomsat-1 communications satellite was successfully launched for Algeria from Xichang Satellite Launch Center (XSLC) aboard a Long March-3B launch vehicle.
About 26 minutes after lift-off, according to the data from Xi’an Satellite Tracking and Control Center (XSCC), the Alcomsat-1 satellite was successfully separated from the launch vehicle and entered into the pre-determined Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) with an apogee of 41991km, a perigee of 200km, and an inclination of 26.4º, marking a total success.
This launch was conducted in accordance with the Alcomsat-1 satellite programme contract in December 2013, which was signed by China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC), subordinated to China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), and Algeria Space Agency (ASAL). According to the contract, CGWIC, as the prime contractor, was tasked to design, manufacture, assemble, test, launch, and deliver to ASAL the Alcomsat-1 communications satellite in orbit and other ground deliverable items necessary for the satellite’s operation and application, with the support of its subcontractors which are China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT), China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), also subsidiaries of CASC, and China Satellite Launch and Tracking Control General (CLTC).
China Satellite Communications Co., Ltd. (China Satcom) is a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), specializes in satellite communications and broadcasting services. China Satcom has provided valuable support since the contract signature with ASAL in August 2012, for the study and follow-up of the programme, in particular, in the users need assessment, system definition, frequency coordination, and through the development of the programme.
Alcomsat-1 satellite is designed and manufactured by CAST. The satellite is based on the DFH-4 platform with a lift-off mass of 5,225 kg and a design life of 15 years. The Alcomsat-1 satellite is equipped with 33 operational transponders (19 in Ku-band, 12 in Ka-band and 2 in L-band) onboard, and will be located at 24.8° West longitude geostationary orbit. It will be mainly used in the fields of broadcast, emergency communications, remote education, e-government, enterprise communications, satellite broadband, and satellite based augmentation system applications.
The LM-3B launch vehicle is developed by CALT. The LM-3B launch vehicle, one of the most powerful launch vehicle for GTO missions in the Long March fleet at present, is capable of launching a payload up to 5,500 kg into standard GTO. The launch mission is the 42nd flight of LM-3B launch vehicle and also marks the 258th launch of the Long March fleet.
The Alcomsat-1 satellite program is the first communications satellite programme of Algeria, and also of the bilateral cooperation between Algeria and China in space technology for the first time.
ASAL, the customer of Alcomsat-1 satellite system programme, is committed to the establishment and development of the aerospace industry and technologies in Algeria, and to implement the national strategic targets of space technology. ASAL takes charge of the in-orbit operation, management, and application of the Alcomsat-1 satellite.
Algeria and China are strategic-partners with a comprehensive cooperation agenda. The successful launch of Alcomsat-1 is a good beginning for space cooperation between the two countries. More cooperation, and more space programmes, are expected to be initiated soon.