10 July 2014 – The Algerian Space Agency (ASAL) and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) have signed a contract to build the Alsat-1B Earth Observation satellite in combination with a comprehensive training and development programme.
Alsat-1B will be based on the SSTL-100 platform, hosting a 24m multispectral imager and a 12m panchromatic imager. Eighteen ASAL engineers will undertake the Assembly, Integration and Test phase of the satellite in Algeria, offering further opportunities for the transfer of skills and the development of local capabilities. Eighteen Algerian students will also study for Higher Degrees at the University of Surrey based in Guildford.
Dr Matt Perkins, SSTL’s CEO, commented “The space agency in Algeria helped lay the foundation for the success of the consortium of nations that make up the Disaster Monitoring Constellation, pooling imaging data for the common good and providing satellite imagery to the International Charter: Space & Major Disasters. We are delighted to cooperate with Algeria again to realise Alsat-1B and to extend the latest satellite technologies to the next generation of engineers, cementing a long and fruitful relationship between SSTL and ASAL.”
A spokesperson for ASAL commented “ASAL are very pleased to be working again with SSTL as selected suppliers of Alsat-1B – a medium resolution Earth Observation satellite. We formed a good partnership with SSTL during the production and launch of Alsat-1 in 2002, which remained in service for many years. One of the most important facets of this contract is the very high quality of training that ASAL require, and SSTL and the University of Surrey have a proven track record of delivering this. Lastly, we are pleased to announce that our ASAL engineers will complete the assembly and test of the satellite at our new AIT (Assembly Integration and Test) facility in the new CDS (Centre for Satellite Design) centre located in Oran”.
This contract has been established as a specific action within the Memorandum of Understanding, signed in March 2014 in Algiers, between ASAL and the UK Space Agency under which the two parties agreed to enhance further collaboration in space programmes. Lord Risby, the UK’s Economic Partnership Envoy for Algeria, was present for the formal signing, together with representatives from the UK Space Agency, ASAL, representatives of the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, SSTL and British Embassy officials.
Also under the ASAL-UKSA Memorandum of Understanding, a nanosatellite project in collaboration with the Surrey Space Centre of the University of Surrey has been agreed. Driven by an academic know-how transfer with PhD and MSc scholarships, this project involves the design and manufacture of a CubeSat standard-based nanosatellite with the active participation of the Algerian students at the Satellite Development Centre (CDS) in Oran, and the broader UK CubeSat community.
Alsat-1B provides continuity from Algeria’s first satellite Alsat-1A, a 32-metre multi-spectral Earth observation satellite, which was also designed and manufactured by SSTL. Alsat-1A was a pioneer of the Disaster Monitoring Constellation when it was launched in 2002, and was very successful, proving very important for Algeria’s monitoring of natural resources, forest fires and locust plagues, and contributing satellite data to global disaster monitoring.