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Algeria Considering Second ALCOMSAT Communications Satellite

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

Algeria’s space agency, the Agence spatiale algérienne (ASAL), the Algerian space is actively considering building a second communications satellite, Alcomsat-2, to replace Alcomsat-1 at the end of its service life in orbit.

During the ASAL open house organised on 3-4 December 2018, its managing director Azzedine Oussedik revealed that the agency’s ambition was to let Algerians build the new satellite.

According Oussedik, “since 2002, we have trained a high-level human capital which increased from 100 to 600.” Algeria wants to capitalize on this expertise for its coming space achievements.

For Azzedine Oussedik, “it is a really good thing, on the technical level, to plan for Alcomsat-2. We will not wait for the fifteenth year…to think of building a new communications satellite.” An early beginning will leave the space administration enough time to steadily build the necessary infrastructure.

The Alcomsat-1 satellite was designed and manufactured by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), and launched from China on 11 December 2017. The satellite is based on the DFH-4 platform with a lift-off mass of 5,225 kg and a design lifespan 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), and is located at 24.8° West longitude in geostationary orbit. The satellite is used for satellite television broadcasting, emergency communications, remote education, e-government, enterprise communications, satellite broadband, and satellite based augmentation system applications, and is operated by ASAL on behalf of Algérie Télécom.

Alcomsat-2 is just one of a number of next generation satellites ASAL is planning to launch into orbit under the framework of its 2020-2040 space programme. This will start just after the completion of the current space programme that has been underway since 2006 and has seen the launch of five satellites.

The ASAL space programme in both of its iterations aims to establish Algeria as an independent and sovereign space power.



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