Argentine satellite SAOCOM 1B already has a launch date

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Argentine satellite SAOCOM 1B already has a launch date





© Provided by Infobae
SAOCOM1B deployed (CONAE – Darío Rivero)


The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation reported that the National Commission for Space Activities (CONAE) is preparing the new launch campaign for the Argentine observation satellite SAOCOM 1B, activity that it had been postponed in March because it coincided with the beginning of social, preventive and compulsory isolation (ASPO), ordered by the National Government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new operation plans to launch the Argentine satellite into orbit at the end of July, in a window of launch opportunities that runs from July 25 to 30.. This historical fact of great magnitude for Argentine science nothing more and nothing less will happen from the facilities of Elon Musk’s SpaceX company in Cape Canaveral, Florida, United States.

The SAOCOM 1B satellite –who traveled to the United States in February-, together with SAOCOM 1A, they make up the SAOCOM Mission. Both were developed and manufactured in the country by the CONAE together with the company INVAP, main project contractor, public firm VENG, the National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA) and the GEMA Laboratory of the National University of La Plata (UNLP), among other 80 technology companies and institutions of the country’s scientific-technological system. It also had the collaboration of the Italian Space Agency (ASI).


The team of engineers, technicians and staff that participated in the construction of the Argentine satellite (CONAE)


© Provided by Infobae
The team of engineers, technicians and staff that participated in the construction of the Argentine satellite (CONAE)


The Argentine technical delegation responsible for the launch campaign will depart tomorrow night for the United States, on a special flight by Aerolineas Argentinas. It will be made up of the executive and technical director of CONAE, Raúl Kulichevsky and five professionals from the organization together with the representative of INVAP’s General Management, Guillermo Benito, and 11 professionals from said company.

All of them make up the team that will work in the pre-launch phase of testing and testing the satellite and will be in charge of controlling the satellite during launch, at SpaceX headquarters.

On Monday, July 13, the launch campaign for SAOCOM 1B will begin. From that day on, tests will be carried out on the functioning and health of the satellite., as well as integration and encapsulation operations inside the Falcon 9 launcher’s cap. It is expected that between Saturday 25 and Thursday 30 July, the launch will finally take place around 20, Argentine time.


INVAP (CONAE) satellite platform and solar panels


© Provided by Infobae
INVAP (CONAE) satellite platform and solar panels


In addition to the CONAE and INVAP team present in the US, The launch campaign is completed with three teams of professionals in Argentina, who will be in the City of Buenos Aires and in the provinces of Córdoba and Río Negro, supporting the mission and supervising technical aspects..

Since The Mission Control Center located in the Teófilo Tabanera Space Center, of the CONAE, in Falda del Carmen, Córdoba, will carry out constant monitoring of the satellite. There they will receive their first signs of life in space and all variables must be checked with the support from the teams stationed in two support rooms, at the CONAE headquarters in Buenos Aires and at the INVAP headquarters, in Bariloche. The activities will be extended throughout the following days, to carry out, with remote commands, the deployment operations of the enormous 35-square-meter SAR radar antenna.


SAOCOM 1B antenna, back of the electronic part, and thermal blankets (CONAE - Lucas Vallorani) (Vallorani Lucas /)


© Provided by Infobae
SAOCOM 1B antenna, back of the electronic part, and thermal blankets (CONAE – Lucas Vallorani) (Vallorani Lucas /)


In dialogue with Infobae, Raúl Kulichevsky, Executive and Technical Director of the National Commission for Space Activities (CONAE), stated: “Taking up the launch campaign again is the result of responsibility, commitment and passion for what we do. AND is to take the first opportunity we have to be able to finish carrying out a work that has taken many years, with which CONAE and all the institutions that have worked with us feel absolutely committed ”.

“We are sure that all of us who go to the United States and those who stay in Argentina to give the support we need and also organize the ground segment, are a great team, capable of facing difficult and adverse circumstances. SAOCOM has a team of people convinced that we can achieve that goal ”added the official.


SAOCOM 1B antenna, front, mechanical tests (CONAE - Lucas Vallorani) (Vallorani Lucas /)


© Provided by Infobae
SAOCOM 1B antenna, front, mechanical tests (CONAE – Lucas Vallorani) (Vallorani Lucas /)


Argentine satellites with cutting-edge technology

The SAOCOM Mission brings into space a complex Earth observation technology, which represents a significant improvement over the usual optical sensors. This is an active instrument consisting of a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), which works on the L-band microwave portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.

SAOCOM satellites were specially designed to detect soil moisture and obtain information from the Earth’s surface in any weather condition or time of day. This is possible because the radar microwaves are able to pierce the clouds and “see” even if it is cloudy, both day and night. These characteristics make SAOCOMs especially useful for preventing, monitoring, mitigating and evaluating natural or anthropogenic catastrophes.


The characteristics of the Argentine satellite SAOCOM 1B (Marcelo Regalado)


© Provided by Infobae
The characteristics of the Argentine satellite SAOCOM 1B (Marcelo Regalado)


Through a collaboration agreement between the National Institute of Agricultural Technology and CONAE, the information provided by the SAOCOM Mission on soil moisture will help producers know when is the best time to plant, fertilize and irrigate crops such as soybeans. , corn, wheat and sunflower. It will also provide support in relation to the use of chemical products for the control of diseases in crops, particularly for fusariosis in wheat. A contribution not less for the agricultural sector is the flood forecast, which also contributes the SAOCOM mission, developed in the framework of cooperation between the National Water Institute (INA) and CONAE.


The Saocom 1B satellite traveled to the United States in February on the Antonov AN 124 aircraft from the San Carlos de Bariloche airport


© Provided by Infobae
The Saocom 1B satellite traveled to the United States in February on the Antonov AN 124 aircraft from the San Carlos de Bariloche airport.


Care before the COVID-19

Both the CONAE and INVAP team through their Safety and Hygiene Departments, they made a specific protocol of preventive security measures for the new coronavirus, taking into account all the stages of the campaign, from the departure of each member of the team to the launch site, and their return to the country.

As part of the team A person responsible for safety and hygiene travels exclusively to control the application of the protocol implemented for this mission., and the care of the team members and their health. On Monday, June 29 and Tuesday, June 30, they were tested by PCR for COVID 19 and the results were negative, and upon arrival in the United States, Argentine engineers will comply with a strict quarantine of 10 days before entering the Space X facilities., and from CONAE clarified that they travel with medical insurance, personal protective equipment (PPE) COVID-19 and a protocol of preventive measures.

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