Argentina is the first Latin American country to have produced a geostationary telecommunications satellite. Argentina is in a club that includes the US, China, Russia, Japan, Israel, India and the European Union. The satellites are built by the Argentine company INVAP, with Astrium and Thales Alenia Space as leading equipment suppliers.
ARSAT is a company incorporated by the Argentine Government under a law passed in 2006. The company aims to develop the geostationary orbital slots assigned to the Argentine Republic by means of telecommunications satellites developed and built in Argentina, and to operate them and provide all kind of satellite services, voice, data, audio and video, to customers across the Americas. Currently holding Argentine orbital slots 81 degrees West and 72 degrees West, ARSAT is providing service to customers using satellite capacity obtained through strategic and commercial agreements with global operators.
ARSAT provides Direct-to-home television (DTH), Internet connection for VSAT, and data and IP telephony services. It also carries video signals for cable television operators, and it is used for news broadcasting from mobile television units. ARSAT-1 transmits in Ku-band and it covers all the national territory, including Antarctic bases and Islas Malvinas, as well as neighboring countries. ARSAT-1's design concentrates the satellite’s maximum power in the national territory, allowing equal quality connectivity to every region in the country, including the areas that private operators consider economically unattractive, which previously did not receive coverage.
The services will be managed by ARSAT’s Network Operations Center (NOC), which is located in our earth station at Benavídez. The NOC’s mission will be managing ARSAT-1's fixed and occasional satellite capacity during the satellite’s useful life, to avoid interference and disturbance and so that every service has the suitable power and bandwidth, guaranteeing the service’s quality.
There is a clear decision by the national government to make the necessary investments to fight the digital gap, hence, the deployment of a large number of policies and measures, such as TDA, Argentina Conectada or Conectar Igualdad, to which can be added ARSAT, with its different, but complementary, lines of work.
The project for the satellite ARSAT-1 was divided into four phases: phase I involved preliminary engineering design; phase II, detail engineering; phase III, manufacturing, integration and testing; and phase IV, launch and placing into orbit. Forty three days before its launch, ARSAT-1 will be transported to Arianspace spaceport at Korou, French Guiana, on an Antonov aircraft—hired on account of the load’s weight and size—, together with the equipment for trials and manipulation. The final tests will take place at Korou, as well as fuelling and the conditioning of the lower part of the launcher Ariane V, since the flight VA220 that put ARSAT-1 into orbit on 16 October 2014 was a dual launch.
ARSAT-1 replaced hired satellite capacity, which has the same quality all throughout the country. Arsat-2 and Arsat-3 areunder development and are set to be launched in 2015 and 2017. ARSAT-2, which would be launched in 2015, can better Argentina’s good position as audiovisual content exporter. The second Argentine telecommunications’ satellite transmits not only in Ku-band, but also in C-band, widening the scope to the rest of America. This satellite enables Argentine companies to export data and a South-American DTS, as well as providing point-to-point links and Internet access (VSAT), in addition to allowing the transport of video to all the continent, to broadcast television signals. It would be launched in the second quarter of 2015.
With the launch of its second telecommunications satellite made in Argentina, President Cristina Fernandez celebrated the country's technology milestone and wants the South American nation to manufacture eight more over the next 20 years. Fernandez said her government was sending a new draft law to Congress to promote the satellite industry in Argentina, saying it would require investment worth $1.201 billion. She foresees building eight more satellites over the next 20 years, some of which will be sold abroad, adding that Buenos Aires had invested $1.05 billion in the satellite industry since 2003.
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