Russian satellite manufacturer, RSC Energia, has confirmed via its website that contact has been lost with Angosat-1, Angola’s first communications satellite. The satellite was successfully launched on 26 December on a Zenit rocket from Baikonour and contact was initially established but then lost as it made its way to its final orbit at 13 degrees east.
Angosat-1’s launch had been postponed several times due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine where the Zenit rocket is manufactured. The satellite was designed specifically to be launched by the Zenit launch vehicle. There has been no explanation as to the cause of the loss of contact. According to the AFP News Agency, an industry source has been quoted as saying that “contact has temporarily been lost” and telemetry data was not being received. The source also confirmed that experts were looking into the situation and that this is a “rather common situation”, adding that it was hoped contact would be re-established soon.
The Angosat-1 project was initiated between Angola and Russia in 2009 and included the satellite itself, manufactured by RSC Energia with a payload from Airbus Defence and Space, the launch and associated ground infrastructure.
AngoSat-1 uses C- and Ku-bands on 44 transponders, and is expected to primarily broadcast satellite television. A mission control headquarters is located on the outskirts of Luanda, the capital of Angola.
Angola rolled out an ambitious space programme and policy agenda in May 2017, including the development of communications and Earth observation satellites, and the establishment of a national space agency.