Angosat-1 communications restored after post-launch glitch

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GLASSBORO, New Jersey — Angola’s new satellite is communicating normally with ground teams again after losing contact shortly following launch.

Moscow-based Energia, manufacturer of Angosat-1, as well as the Russian state corporation Roscosmos confirmed in press releases Dec. 29 that the satellite is sending telemetry and that onboard systems are in good health.

Angosat-1 launched Dec. 26 on a Zenit-3SLBF rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Energia reported the following day that Angosat-1 had stopped sending vital data to ground teams. Angosat-1 is the first satellite for Angola, designed for television broadcast and communications services in C- and Ku-band, and took eight years to complete.  

The Angolan National Office for Space Affairs, or GGPEN (Gabinete de Gestão do Programa Espacial Nacional), said Dec. 29 in a Portuguese-language website update that the satellite regained contact at 9:00 a.m. Eastern (3:00 p.m. local time in Angola) on Dec. 28, one day after the glitch.

The lapse in telemetry data with Angosat-1 was the second high-profile space sector mishap for Russia in two months, following a November Soyuz failure that claimed the Meteor-M No.2-1 weather satellite and 18 secondary payloads.

While Russian rockets regularly provide launch services for international customers, the 1,647-kilogram Angosat-1 satellite represents a rare export for the country’s satellite manufacturing industry. Angosat-1 has a design life of 15 years, providing coverage over all of Africa and parts of Europe.