In-orbit AIS performance of the Norwegian microsatellites NorSat-1 and NorSat-2
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Two Norwegian AIS-satellites, NorSat-1 and NorSat-2, were launched in July 2017. Both are equipped with the ASR x50, the latest space-AIS receiver developed by Kongsberg Seatex AS, ofering advanced signal processing and continuous operation on all four AIS channels. The NorSat-satellites collect~1.5 million messages from~50,000 ships per day (24 h) each, which is a factor~2.8 increase in the number of messages compared to the ASR 100 on-board AISSat-1 and AISSat-2. The improvements of the AIS-satellites can be attributed to three developments: the performance of the receiver, the use of antenna diversity, and the use of frequency channel diversity. Daily statistics for February 2018 over the Mediterranean Sea illustrate the improvements: The median value of the number of messages received with NorSat-1 using only one antenna is 2.3 times higher than for AISSat-1. When both NorSat-1 antennas are used, the improvement factor becomes 4.1, and fnally, when two additional receiver channels are used to collect long-range AIS messages, the total improvement becomes 8.2 times. In terms of ships detected, the factors are 1.8, 2.7, and 4.4 for the respective steps. Long-range AIS messages amount to just 5% of the total AIS messages received by NorSat-1 in August 2017, but it allows to detect 20% more ships on a global scale, and as much as 10 times more ships in a the high-trafc area in the North Sea.
Eriksen, Torkild; Helleren, Øystein; Skauen, Andreas Nordmo; Storesund, Frode André; Bjørnevik, Anders; Åsheim, Harald; Blindheim, Eirik Voie; Harr, Jon. In-orbit AIS performance of the Norwegian microsatellites NorSat-1 and NorSat-2. CEAS Space Journal 2019