The AlSat-Nano mission is a joint endeavour by the UK and Algeria to build and operate a 3U CubeSat. The project was designed to provide training to Algerian students, making use of UK engineering and experience. The CubeSat was designed and built by the Surrey Space Centre (SSC) and hosts three UK payloads with operations run by the Algerian Space Agency (ASAL).
The payloads were supplied by the UK CubeSat community and were selected through a competitive process, effectively performing a technology demonstration mission. These payloads demonstrated novel technologies in mechanisms (Deployable Boom - Oxford Space System), imagery (Compact CMOS camera demonstrator - Open University) and power generation (Thin Film Solar Cell - SSC & Centre for Solar Energy Research). The educational and CubeSat development were funded by the UK Space Agency (UKSA), whilst the UK payloads were self-funded. Launch and operations are funded by ASAL.
Launch & Early Operations
Having arrived at launch site on 6 September and after inspection of shipping containers, the SSC/ASAL launch site team travelled to India on 12 September and conducted a detailed inspection verifying the spacecraft had arrived safely.
Health check testing was performed at launch site followed by battery charging and a Launch Readiness Review was held to confirm all parties were happy to proceed to launch. The spacecraft was then closed in the pod with final flight preparation. The spacecraft in its pod was one of the last payloads mounted on the Launch Vehicle on 20 September.
The AlSat-1N spacecraft in its deployment pod is seen at 3 minutes into the integration video and is dwarfed by some of the other satellites on the launch!