The first ever Angola telecommunications satellite AngoSat-1, which could not be contacted immediately after launching from the Baikonur cosmodrome, was switched to energy saving mode. The reason for this, as stated by Kommersant, the general director of the Rocket and Space Corporation (RSC) "Energia" Vladimir Solntsev, became a problem with the power supply of the spacecraft. Experts are engaged in analyzing the available telemetry, but they will be able to correct the situation only in April, when AngoSat-1 again appears in the radio visibility zone. However, the chances of rescuing the device are objectively small.
On December 27, 2017, Kommersant reported about problems with AngoSat-1. They, we recall, arose immediately after the separation of the apparatus from the "Fregat-SB" upper stage (the bunch was put into orbit by the Zenit-2SB carrier rocket from the Baikonur cosmodrome). A satellite was established with the satellite, but after a while it disappeared. To get telemetry from the device to specialists of Energia was possible only on December 29, after which the RKK was informed: "The received information shows that all the parameters of the on-board systems of the device are normal."
"The device was put into orbit, and the launch was carried out by the" Fregat-SB "upper stage, as planned, with high accuracy into the orbit, slightly higher than the geostationary one. On it, we tested the work of engines and other satellite systems before coming to the workplace in the geostationary orbit. The antennas and solar panels opened up in the regular mode, "Vladimir Solntsev, the head of RSC Energia, told Kommersant." At the same time, there are now some problems with power supply, which is why we were forced to put the device into energy-saving mode, or, like us we call it "safe mode". "
Vladimir Solntsev clarified that RKK experts will study telemetric information in order to understand the reasons for what happened. The apparatus itself, he said, is now drifting westward and will soon leave the radio visibility zone, and will re-enter it in mid-April. And then, according to the RKK, the flight tests of AngoSat-1 should be resumed.
The story with Angosat-1 began in 2008 under the previous chapter of "Energy" Vitaly Lopote. Then Russia and Angola concluded a framework contract for the creation and launch of the first broadcasting satellite. Angola was to become the seventh African country to have its own satellite in orbit: this club already includes Algeria, South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia. In 2011, Vnesheconombank, VTB Bank and Roseximbank provided loans to the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Angola for a total of about $ 280 million for a period of up to 13 years. The works, launched in 2012, were accompanied by technical problems and leapfrog in the choice of removal means. As a result, after searching all the options (launching the satellite on the Angara-A5 from the Plesetsk cosmodrome, at Zenit-3SL from Odyssey's Sea Launch platform), it was decided to launch the satellite with Zenit from Baikonur, although initially the missile was intended for launch of another satellite - "Spectrum-RG". The launch itself was carried out both by the calculation of Ukrainian specialists from the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau and by the specialists of the S7 company (its owner Vladislav Filev owns Sea Launch).
Despite the difficulties that appeared after the launch of AngoSat-1, the Russian side until the last hoped to improve the situation. So, on December 29, the government of the Russian Federation sent a telegram to the Ambassador of Angola to Russia, Joaquim Augusto de Lemuche, stating that "this event (launch of AngoSat-1.-" Kommersant ") will be an important step in bilateral cooperation in the sphere of high technologies and space ". And on January 3, Jornal de Angola, referring to the Russian ambassador to Angola, Vladimir Tararov, wrote that "the successful launch of Angosat-1 and its commissioning means that Angola entered the club of space powers." This statement was clearly premature.
The source of Kommersant in the Roskosmos state corporation on Monday specified that the cause of the contingency situation with the Angolan apparatus was a malfunction in the power distribution unit, which was manufactured by AVEKS company (it was not possible to receive a comment from its representative, Kommersant). The device itself was insured in the companies "Sogaz" and "VTB Insurance" for $ 121 million in the proportion of 50 to 50.
According to Kommersant's information, Angolan specialists have full information about the state of the satellite, but they are in no hurry to make any forecasts. At the same time, as noted by a high-ranking source of Kommersant in the Russian government, the cooperation of the two countries is now at a high level in several directions at once. Thus, a package of arms contracts worth about $ 1 billion began to be realized through Rosoboronexport (including, in particular, the supply of 12 used Su-30K fighters, trucks and small arms), and in early January it became known that the President of Angola, João Lawrence signed a decree permitting the redistribution of 16.4% of the authorized capital of the Catoca mining company in favor of the subsidiary of the diamond company ALROSA. "Let's hope that the incident on our relations with partners will not affect greatly," the interlocutor concluded.