Norway’s New Satellite NORSAT-3 Launched With Kongsberg Technology


The Norwegian Space Agency’s new NorSat-3, launched on April 29th, 2021 from Vega Flight VV 18 which took off from the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guyana, will be used by the Norwegian Coastal Administration for monitoring maritime traffic in Norway’s busy seaways. 

Its AIS and NRD (navigation radar detector) payload draws upon KONGSBERG’s most advanced, future-proof developments in space-based vessel detection, says an article published on their website.

About NORSAT-3

NORSAT-3 will take its place 605km above the Earth in a polar LEO (Low Earth Orbit) constellation alongside four other microsatellites. The new 16.5kg satellite has been designed to provide next-level functionality, so it has been equipped with KONGSBERG’s ASR x50 SAT-AIS receiver as its primary payload – the sophisticated fourth-generation outcome of a developmental AIS (Automatic Identification System) timeline which stretches back over two decades.    

Kongsberg ASR x50

The ASR x50 sets a new standard for sensitivity in space-based SAT-AIS receivers, with its ability to detect even AIS Class B vessels. Extremely reliable and offering built-in redundancy, it deploys next-generation de-collision algorithms for optimal vessel detection in areas with a medium or high density of ship traffic. Its miniature, best-in-class EEE (Electrical, Electronic and Electromechanical) components have been selected for their radiation-tolerant design principles and their low power usage.

How this satellite help norwegian coastal administration?

New microsatellite’s secondary payload consists of an experimental NRD (Navigation Radar Detector) antenna and receiver, supplied by the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) and developed in collaboration with KONGSBERG, the French space agency CNES and the German electronics company ILFA. 

This cutting-edge equipment can detect and locate signals transmitted by civilian navigation radar systems, which will give the Norwegian Coastal Administration a more complete situational image by including vessels which aren’t sending AIS signals, for reasons ranging from errors and malfunctions to transponders being switched off.

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