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Algeria’s ALCOMSAT-1 Communications Satellite Now Operational

A Long March 3B space launch vehicle launches Algeria’s AlComSat-1 communications satellite. Photograph courtesy of China Great Wall Industry Corporation.

Algeria’s ALCOMSAT-1 communications satellite is operational in its orbital slot four months after its launch from China.

A handover ceremony was held earlier in April 2018 at the Algerian satellite control centre that will handle all ALCOMSAT-1 operations between Algerian officials and engineers and executives from China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) who built and launched the satellite.

ALCOMSAT-1 was launched by a Chinese Long March-3B space launch vehicle from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre located in China’s Sichuan Province on 10 December 2017. The satellite will be operated by the Algerian Space Agency on behalf of Algérie Télécom, has an operational life expectancy of 15 years, and hosts 33 transponders, 19 of which operate in the Ku-band, 12 in the Ka-band, and two in the L-band, and was developed as a long-term cooperative programme in satellite technologies between Algeria and China.

ALCOMSAT-1 will be used for satellite television broadcasting, broadband Internet, voice and data communications, enterprise communications, tele-education, e-governance, and emergency communications throughout Algeria and North Africa.

Algeria and China agreed 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.

Algerian and Chinese officials hope that ALCOMSAT-1 will be the first of a number of satellites that both countries will jointly develop.

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