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Agreement signed with the Netherlands for Norway's new satellite

NorSat-TD will demonstrate new technologies from France, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway.

Skrevet av
Berit Ellingsen
12. mars 2024
NorSat-TD.Illustrasjon: UTIAS/SFL

Friday the 22nd of January 2012 the Dutch ambassador to Norway signed, together with the Norwegian ambassador to the Netherlands, an agreement that places Dutch high-technology on Norway's new national satellite NorSat Technology Demonstrator (NorSat-TD).

NorSat-TD will test technologies in orbit for Norwegian companies, state actors and international partners.

Moreover, the new satellite will increase the competency of the Norwegian space sector, particularly in the field of advanced communications technologies, as well as in satellite control and operations in orbit.

NorSat-TD has already reached the integration phase.

Parallell signing on live transmission

The signing took place at the Dutch embassy in Oslo and at the Norwegian embassy in The Hague.

Present at the signing were the Dutch ambassador to Norway, Christian Hauglie-Hanssen – Director General for the Norwegian Space Agency, as well as other representatives from the Norwegian space sector.

At Norway's embassy in The Hague were the Norwegian ambassador to the Netherlands, together with Harm van de Wetering and other representatives from Netherlands Space Office and the Dutch space sector.

The signing was done in parallell via live transmission on video.

- It is great to get a ride from our Norwegian colleagues. This cooperation enables us to demonstrate promising high-tech for small satellites, says Harm van de Wetering, Director General of Netherlands Space Office.

- The Norsat-TD mission demonstrates the powerful impact of bilateral cooperation in the space domain. Cooperation on capacities which serve national needs, as well as satisfy future commercial ambition, serves as an important complement to Norway´s space activities within ESA and the EU, says Christian Hauglie-Hanssen, Director General of the Norwegian Space Agency.

Laser communication and electrical motor

Netherlands Space Office (NSO) will, in partnership with the Norwegian Space Agency (NOSA), test communication between NorSat-TD and ground stations via laser technology. This payload has been delievered from TNO in the Netherlands.

With the Dutch payload, called Small Communication Active Terminal (SmallCAT), the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFO) will perform crucial tests in laser communication with their ground stations.

French company ThrustMe will, in cooperation with the French space organization CNES together with NOSA, test a new electrical thruster that uses iodine as fuel.

This thruster will increase Norway's competency in the operation and control of micro-satellites in low orbits.

Laser reflector, VDES and super-GPS

NorSat-TD's payload also includes a miniaturized laser reflector from the Italian research institute INRI SCF Lab. This technology reflects laser beams from the ground to measure the distance to the satellite and determine its position in orbit.

The Norwegian Mapping Authority also uses such laster technology for geodetic measurements. Thus, NorSat-TD will be tracked by laser ground stations at the Norwegian Mapping Authority's laboratory at Ny-Ålesund in Svalbard, as well as by partners in France and Italy.

Space Norway will demonstrate a new and improved technology, called VDES, for two-way communication between satellittes, ships and land. This technology will, together with Norway's national satellite NorSat-2, contribute to the development of a robust small-band network for the Artcic.

With NorSat-TD Fugro will loft its technology for maritime control and tracking up into space. This technology, called Space Star, will determine the satelllites position with an accuracy of 10 centimeters in real time, and improve collision detection for satellites in orbit.

Fifth generation AIS receiver

As the other Norwegian satellites, NorSat-1 and NorSat-2, launched in July 2017, NorSat-TD will carry an AIS receiver from Kongsberg Seatex for monitoring ship traffic from space.

This new and miniaturized fifth generation AIS receiver will also be used to test the Internet Of Things in the Arctic.

The new AIS receiver will monitor ship traffic in Norwegian and international waters via the international anti-collision system AIS, which all ships above 300 gross tonnes are obliged to carry onboard.

A milestone for the Norwegian space sector

NorSat-TD's payload will require a slightly larger satellitt than NorSat-1 and NorSat-2.

Thus, NorSat-TD will measure 30 x 30 x 40 centimeters and weigh approximately 35 kilos, while NorSat-1 and -2 measure 20 x 20 x 40 centimeters and weigh approximately 16 kilos.

NorSat-TD has already passed its final design review. Currently the satellite bus is being built and the payloads integrated, with launch planned for the first quarter of 2022.

Norway's technology demonstrator in space is an important milestone for both the Norwegian Space Agency and the Norwegian space sector.

For more information

Tyler Jones – Project Manager, satellittes – Norwegian Space Agency – +47 941 32 846

Christian Hauglie-Hanssen – Director General – Norwegian Space Agency – +47 920 60 043