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The innovative AISSat-1 celebrates one year in space

12. July 2011

After one year in orbit, AISSat-1 has demonstrated its capabilities as a complementary asset to the land based AIS chain along the Norwegian coast line.


AISSat-1 is a nano satellite to investigate space-based Automatic Identification System sensors in low-Earth orbit to track maritime traffic.

AISSat-1 is a Norwegian nano satellite, which primary mission is to investigate the feasibility and performance of a space-based Automatic Identification System (AIS) sensor in low-Earth orbit as a means of tracking maritime assets. After one year in orbit, the satellite’s technology has proved its efficiency and is classified as a success by the owner.

The satellite was built as a cooperation between the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment, Kongsberg Seatex, the Norwegian Coastal Administration and the Norwegian Space Centre. It is financed by the Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry. The Kongsberg Satellites Service’s ground station at Svalbard is used for downloading data.

"For Kongsberg Seatex this is a very nice milestone" says Gard Ueland, President of Kongsberg Seatex AS. "Our contribution to the satellite is the AIS receiver payload. We have demonstrated that our technology and knowledge is indeed adequate for this type of application. We look forward to continue developing our technology for many uses, including similar space-based vehicles in the future."

AISSat-1 has also shown its flexibility in situations where additional information about sea traffic is necessary. Data from the satellite was made available by the Norwegian Costal Administration to the Japanese authorities for search and rescue operations after the tsunami earlier this year.

To ensure the continuity of data from the experimental system and to further strengthen the coverage in the High North, the Norwegian Space Centre has decided to launch a second satellite, AISSat-2. The AISSat-2 will have close to the same orbit as AISSat-1, and the AIS payload is provided by Kongsberg Seatex. "Through AISSat-1 we have gained a lot of experience and know-how that will benefit future AISSat projects" states Gard Ueland.

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