Norway is getting ready to test space based Automatic Identification System (AIS) to track ships at sea. The space based testing is going to be done from International Space Station (ISS) and from a nanosatellite. Present AIS operates on VHF (Very High Frequency) signals and has range restriction of approximately 50 km.
Some interesting features of space based AIS by Norway are:
- Space based tracking helps to track ships at sea globally with wider coverage area.
- Developed jointly by the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI), Kongsberg Seatex in cooperation with other partners.
- NORAIS (Norwegian Automatic Identification System)
- Instrument has reached this month through the Japanese H-2 Transfer Vehicle to International Space Station for installation in Columbus, the European space laboratory on the International Space Station. Project is called as Columbus Automatic Identification System (COLAIS).
- Testing will start next year after fixing a specially constructed antennae outside Columbus in November this year.
- To be operated by FFI. N-USOC in Trondheim, Norway will collect data from the instrument and send it to FFI every hour.
- Has a viewing range of more than 4000 km covering the ocean areas between 70 degrees North and 70 degrees South several times a day.
- 6 kg nanosatellite, being constructed by University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS)/Space Flight Laboratory (SFL).
- Expected to be launched this year to operate in a high inclination, low Earth orbit.
- To perform similar operations like NORAIS, but the data will be downloaded in real time under different conditions.
- from Norwegian Space Centre: Ship tracking from the ISS
- from Norwegian Defence Research Establishment: Norwegian ship tracking instrument arrives at international space station
- from UTIAS/SFL: The AISSat-1 Mission
Above NORAIS instrument photograph is from FFI.
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