PerúSAT-1: A Primary Data Source for Peru
The PerúSAT-1 programme provides a very-high-quality imagery for both civil and military applications. With application areas ranging from homeland security and border monitoring, coastal surveillance and the fight against illegal trafficking to mining, geology, hydrology, disaster management and environmental protection, PerúSAT-1 gives an unprecedented boost to the development of downstream services in Peru.
In spring 2014, the Peruvian Space Agency CONIDA selected Airbus Defence and Space as the sole prime contractor for the PerúSAT-1 Earth observation satellite programme following a government-to-government agreement between Peruvian and French authorities. As the contract includes an in-orbit delivery of its first satellite, Airbus Defence and Space contracted Arianespace to launch PerúSAT-1 on a Vega launcher from Kourou in French Guiana, which placed the satellite in its sun-synchronous polar orbit approximately 700 km above the Earth.
PerúSAT-1 is based on Airbus Defence and Space's AstroBus-S platform: the latest generation of high-end satellites designed for a 10-year lifetime.
It observes the Earth through the very-high-resolution optical NAOMI imager, designed and developed by Airbus Defence and Space. This silicon carbide optical instrument provides imagery in high or very-high resolution; in PerúSAT-1’s case 70 centimeters.
Further, the Peruvian Earth observation satellite system also comprises a ground control segment, an image reception and processing center as well as a privileged access to Airbus Defence and Space’s own Earth observation satellite constellation since day one of the contract.
PERÚSAT-1: A SATELLITE PRODUCED IN RECORD-TIME
*Assembly, Integration and Test
This success was made possible by the creation of the “Projects Factory©”, a new and more integrated working organization in the Space System business unit in Airbus Defence and Space. This new way of working brings down development and construction lead times for satellites up to 500 kg and optimizes their costs and schedule delivery, without impacting quality in any way.
As part of the PerúSAT-1 programme, a comprehensive cooperation was established between the Peruvian Space Agency and Airbus Defence and Space, going far beyond the construction of the satellite. The agreement allowed CONIDA engineers to benefit from Airbus Defence and Space’s vast experience in the conception, control, and exploitation of space systems as well as satellite data processing, interpretation and management.
16. September: PerúSAT-1 Launched Successfully
It is done! After a few days of anxious waiting, PerúSAT-1 was brought into Space in the early morning hours of today (CET) via a picture-perfect Vega-launch.
We are very proud to have achieved this in partnership with Arianespace and would like to thank our customer, the Peruvian Space Agency CONIDA, for the trust and confidence they have placed in us. This light-weight satellite is set to deliver 70 cm-imagery for a lifetime of 10 years. It was produced in absolute record time. We wish CONIDA the best of success with its PerúSAT-1 programme.
05. September: Mating the Fairing to the Launcher
Using a crane, the fairing was brought up to a height of 37 meters yesterday, and connected to the launcher interface. It is now connected to the Vega and – almost – ready to go.
Final tests are planned on both the launcher and its payload; our team on site is due to perform final health test on PerúSAT-1 in the coming days – but at the moment, everything looks fine for the planned launch date on September 15 (16 CET).
03. September: Fairing Preparations Completed
After the last touches on the fairing had been completed, it has been hoisted onto a truck and transferred to the ZLV, the “Zone de Lancement Vega”, i.e. the Vega launch pad, yesterday evening.
The fairing is now positioned in close vicinity to the launcher interface, which itself is located at a height of ~37m height. The mating of the fairing to the last stage of the launcher is planned for Monday morning.
01. September: Our Names on the Rocket
Today was the time for something that has become a bit of a ritual among the participants of satellite launch campaigns: All those involved have been given the opportunity to sign their name on the mission stickers attached to the launcher’s fairing.
The representatives of our customer CONIDA as well as our own Airbus Defence and Space team have gladly made use of this opportunity to send their name and good wishes into Space with Peru´SAT-1 and its launcher. Following this ritual, the upper part of the launcher is now really ready to go and we expect it to be rolled to the launch pad tomorrow.
31. August: Fixing of the Fairing
After the adaptor with the four SKYSAT satellite was mounted on the VESPA structure, the two parts of the launcher’s fairing were installed around the VESPA adaptor. The fairing fixing and final preparation has just started.
In the coming days, the preparation activities will be focused on the launcher itself and the installation of the upper composite (fairing with the satellites inside) on the VEGA rocket (on the launch pad itself) is expected early next week. All mechanical tests and adjustments on our satellite have been finalized, hence the responsible part of the team is getting ready to return to Toulouse. The team members in charge of electronics will stay on-site in order to perform additional health tests on the satellite once the upper composite is on the launch pad.
29. August: Even More VIPs in the Cleanroom
Delegates from our customer (CONIDA) arrived in Kourou yesterday evening.
After following a mandatory safety training, they were able to visit the clean room and see the satellite just a few hours before the launcher`s VESPA structure was closed. The VEga Secondary Payload Adapter (VESPA) is a structure specifically developed by Arianespace in order to bring very compact spacecraft such as PerúSAT-1 into low-earth orbit. Later in the day, the VESPA structure was closed and our satellite is now no longer visible. Lastly, the SKYSAT adaptors were brought into the same cleanroom, ready for being coupled to the upper part of the VESPA structure.
25. August: A VIP Visit to the Cleanrooms
Today, Airbus Defence and Space CEO Direk Hoke and Nicolas Chamussy, Executive Vice President Space Systems, paid a visit to the cleanroom in Kourou to take a look at the launch preparations. Clad in the obligatory cleanroom outfits, they are almost indistinguishable among the launch campaign team (you can spot them towards the center of the image).
They were lucky, too, as they caught a glimpse of the spacecraft just prior to its encapsulation. Also today, the team started the combined operations with Arianespace – as a first step placing the satellite on the launcher adapter and preparing the clampband, which holds the spacecraft in position on the launcher until it is blasted away during the launch itself at separation stage.
22. August: Fuelling the Satellite
Most of last week was devoted to the propulsion leak test, the objective being to verify that there is no leak. This needs to be ensured before actually fuelling the spacecraft itself in order to secure maximum safety of the operations.
Today, the satellite was fuelled with with hydrazine and the tank was pressurized. The propellant loaded today will allow us to transfer the satellite into its operational orbit and to to keep it there for at least ten years (its design lifetime). All propulsion-related activities were conducted by the propulsion team of Airbus Safran Launchers.
11. August: PerúSAT-1 is checked « fit » for launch
PerúSAT-1 has just successfully crossed a new milestone in the launch preparation.
The satellite has made the initial contact with the launcher hardware called “fit-check”. This step is crucial to verify the physical matchup of the payload with the hardware that serves as its interface when integrated to the launcher. This delicate operation has been driven by Arianespace in its Spaceport’s S3B in Kourou. Once this milestone was achieved, the payload was cleared to continue the pre-launch processing. (Source: Arianespace)
06. August: Unpacking the Satellite in Kourou
As the plane left Toulouse a day later than planned, the first day of work for the on-site team in Kourou was a Saturday. No one minded this weekend-work, however, as everyone was eager to unpack the spacecraft and make sure it had not suffered any damage during the transport.
Once again, the she special container that we use for transporting our spacecraft proved to be reliable: PerúSAT-1 was unpacked without a scratch and safely transferred onto a vertical dolly. The team spent the rest of the day checking the complementarity fit of the satellite with the launcher adapter – no issues here, either!
05. August: PerúSAT-1 Leaves Toulouse
Packed in its special container, the Earth observation satellite PerúSAT-1 has left Toulouse today, destined for the spaceport in Kourou, French Guyana.
After the container was loaded onto the cargo aircraft yesterday, two members of the PerúSAT-1 programme team actually spent the night on the aircraft in order to never leave it unattended. They then accompanied the satellite in the cargo hold during its 8.5 hour flight to Cayenne, from where it is brought to Kourou in a wide convoy, escorted by the police. In Kourou, other members of Airbus Defence and Space’s launch campaign team have already been preparing the satellite’s arrival since the beginning of the week.
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