The North African country of Algeria is to launch its first satellite within the period of the next three weeks from Russia's Pelsetsk Cosmodrome, 600 kilometers northeast of Moscow, the head of Algeria's space center said.
The 100-kilogram micro-satellite Alsat 1 will be launched into orbit 686 kilometers above the earth's surface by a Russian Kosmos rocket, Azzedine Oussedik said on Tuesday.
It will be one of a group, or constellation, of seven international satellites dedicated to monitoring natural and man-made disasters.
The constellation is innovative in that it will send multi-spectral images to a receiver station in Arzew, near Oran, 420 kilometers west of the capital of Algiers, on a daily basis.
Current earth observation satellites offer only infrequent images, and the delivery of critical information may take months due to cloud cover and tasking conflicts.
Images of disaster-stricken areas are often made available too late to be of real use to relief co-ordination agencies on the ground, AFP said.
Alsat 1 was designed and built by a team of eleven scientists from Algeria's National Space Technology Center (CNTS), in a cooperative venture with Britain’s Surrey Satellite Technology.
Meanwhile, other countries that will launch micro-satellites into the same orbit as Alsat 1 to form part of the disaster monitoring constellation are Britain, China, Nigeria, Turkey, Thailand and Vietnam.
CNTS researchers are already developing Alsat 2, Oussedik added. (Albawaba.com)
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