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Open Cosmos launches fourth satellite in 2023 to demonstrate latest technologies for telecommunications and earth observation constellations

By Eric Van Rees - 14th December 2023 - 08:45

Open Cosmos, the space company making satellites that gather data to solve pressing global challenges, has seen its fourth Earth Observation satellite of the year, ALISIO-1 launched.

After a successful launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, onboard SpaceX's Falcon 9, ALISIO-1 has been deployed from the D-Orbit ION vehicle and is now in its final orbit. First contact from the ground was established shortly after deployment. This space mission is packed with innovation, with technologies developed under the UK Space Agency-funded ESA PIONEER Programme.

ALISIO-1, which stands for Advanced Land-Imaging Satellite for Infrared Observations, is a 6U satellite developed for the Instituto Astrofísico de Canarias (the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands) aimed at revolutionising Earth monitoring capabilities and enhancing optical communications from space.

Precise observations which would be invisible to the human eye
The primary payload aboard ALISIO-1, DRAGO-2, is a unique compact uncooled and camera operating in the Short-Wave Infrared (SWIR) range, providing a unique vantage point invisible to the human eye. This powerful tool will generate precise observations of the Canary Islands, as well as other regions around the globe, playing a vital role in various applications including wildfire monitoring, volcano activity monitoring, oil spill detection, desertification control & crop humidity among others.

The ALISIO-1 satellite will also host an optical communications terminal for Space-Earth communications. This technology employs laser beams which can transmit data through the vacuum of space, offering several advantages over traditional radio-frequency (RF) communication methods - such as enhanced data transfer and heightened security due to the narrow beam nature of laser signals. This marks a significant step forward for future space missions and satellite communications, where robust and secure communication channels are paramount.

As well, as part of its design and build, this satellite also validated a suite of technologies where every test is recorded digitally from the moment the satellite is created. The record acts as a digital history along the satellite lifecycle, enabling faster problem identification and resolution both during the development and operational phase. This semi-automated approach ultimately enhances Open Cosmos’s capability to deliver space missions faster, more reliably and affordably.

Read More: Satellite Imaging Aerospace

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