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01 Feb 18. Orbital ATK (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, today announced the successful launch of the GovSat-1 multi-mission satellite. Orbital ATK built the satellite for GovSat, a public-private partnership between the Government of Luxembourg and world-leading satellite operator SES. GovSat-1 launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and marks the second GEOStar-3 satellite built by Orbital ATK to launch this month. It will be used to provide service to governmental and institutional customers. Liftoff occurred on January 31 at 4:25 p.m. EST from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The satellite separated successfully from the launch vehicle approximately 32 minutes into the mission after reaching its targeted orbit. Orbital ATK completed the satellite’s initial post-launch health check and configuration in preparation for 16 days of orbit-raising procedures and in-orbit tests. Once testing has been completed, operational control of GovSat-1 will be handed over to GovSat.
“Our initial testing of GovSat-1 shows the satellite is performing nominally,” said Amer Khouri, Vice President of the Commercial Satellite business at Orbital ATK. “The company has previously delivered six GEOStar satellites to SES, one of GovSat’s shareholders. GovSat-1 demonstrates continued confidence in the company’s GEOStar products.”
GovSat-1 was built in Orbital ATK’s satellite manufacturing facility in Dulles, Virginia. It is an X-band and military Ka-band satellite that provides high-powered and fully steerable spot beams for multiple government missions. The satellite will be positioned on the European geostationary orbit arc and provide coverage to Europe, the Middle East and Africa, along with extensive maritime coverage over the Mediterranean and Baltic seas, and the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The GEOStar-3 platform is the newest, highest power and most advanced platform in the flight-proven GEOStar product line. The spacecraft bus features an increase in both battery capacity and solar array power. An additional GEOStar-3 satellite is planned for launch this year. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
01 Feb 18. Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. of Israel announced today that it has completed the first series of tests of the “Venµs” satellite’s electric propulsion system in its space orbit, after the launch. As part of a joint venture between the Israeli Space Agency (ISA) and the French Space Agency (CNES), “Venµs” satellite is carrying the first electric propulsion system of its kind, developed by Rafael, Israel’s only manufacturer of electric propulsion systems for satellites.
Rafael also noted that it has conducted a conclusive system test, and that the system can now be declared operational. All the tests were carried out from the “Technological Mission Center” located at Rafael, through an IAI ground communication station. Later in the life of the satellite, additional experiments and tests are planned to estimate and evaluate the performance of the space propulsion system. Venµs has two missions: scientific – under the responsibility of CNES, and technological – under the responsibility of ISA, whose main purpose is to demonstrate mission enhancement of traditional imaging missions in precise and very low orbits characterized by high drag – by using electric propulsion. The Venµs electric propulsion system will also demonstrate orbit transfer, two and a half years into its mission. The Israeli Space Agency assigned this task to Rafael, which developed and manufactured the system, and today, as stated, announced the successful completion of the series of experiments and tests of this system in space.
The advantages of electric propulsion in space are many and varied, allowing significantly improved performance compared to traditional chemical propulsion. Electric propulsion re