Third SAR-Lupe satellite launched successfully into its orbit
Automatic Identification System (AIS) for receiving ship signals also on board the COSMOS launcher for OHB
A Russian Cosmos 3M carrier lifted off on schedule from the Russian Plesetsk space center, south of Archangelsk, in the early hours of this morning at 1:51 hours CET. On board it was carrying the third SAR-Lupe radar satellite, which it successfully released into its intended orbit around half an hour later. Preliminary signs of life from the satellite were picked up by the Kerguelen ground station in the southern Indian Ocean. As planned, direct contacts were established between the control center and the satellite 92 minutes into the mission. Preliminary tests have confirmed that the third SAR-Lupe satellite is also working properly. Accordingly, work commenced on putting it into operation last night.
Satellite control is currently in the hands of the German Space Agency DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen. The ground station of the German Armed Forces in Gelsdorf is tracking the satellite at the same time and will assume operative responsibility for it in around four weeks at which point in time the radar will start collecting SAR radar images.
In orbit since December 2006 and July 2007, respectively, the first two SAR-Lupe satellites are supplying outstanding high-resolution images and operating very successfully and reliably. The remaining two satellites will be launched in intervals of four or five months, with the entire system to be fully operational in 2008.
The COSMOS-3M also carried an Automatic Identification System (AIS) for ships on board. OHB and LuxSpace Sarl, a company owned by OHB Technology AG, are working on the validation of this and following systems. OHB is building seven new ORBCOMM satellites in which the AIS will be implemented for the US Coast Guard for global monitoring of shipping traffic.