ANGELS, Copyright David Ducros
18.12.2019 Flash news

Angel, successful launch – The Argos metamorphosis is on its way

On December 18, 2019, the French Space Agency, CNES, has launched the first Argos nanosatellite, marking the beginning of a revolution in the Argos system as we know it. This nanosat is the prototype mission for Kinéis, a constellation of 25 nanosatellites with Argos instruments onboard that will be launched in 2022. This new constellation will receive data from around the globe with only 10-15 minutes between satellite passes, and is fully backward compatible with existing Argos beacons. It will also allow for more data transmission and two-way communication. This constellation represents a revolution in satellite telemetry. It will be the ultimate constellation for space IoT data collection and tracking, covering a wide-range of environmental applications.

In order to prepare for the Kinéis constellation, the CNES embarked upon the ANGELS project, whose acronym stands for “ARGOS Neo on a Generic, Economical and Light Satellite.” ANGELS will fill one of the orbital planes of the Argos constellation from 2020 and beyond. So the first one, Angels has been launched by Arianespace on December 18, 2019. The data from ANGELS will be available to users after the in-orbit commissioning process is complete, which will take at least three months’ time.

ANGELS will perform an in-orbit demonstration of a miniaturized Argos instrument (TAS-Syrlinks), onboard a 12U nanosatellite (HEMERIA). It is a revolution for the Argos system because it is the first satellite to embark such a small Argos instrument. The full satellite weighs a mere 20 kg. Miniaturization of the space segment opens the door to the Kinéis constellation, of which ANGELS is the precursor. With smaller satellites, it is possible to launch more satellites, and thus gain a faster revisit time, all over the globe. During the in orbit lifetime, the data generated by ANGELS will be provided to users by CLS for scientific and environmental monitoring applications.

 

Argos satellite launch timeline

The Argos constellation will continue to expand in the coming years, with the Argos-4 instrument launched on several satellites by international space agencies. In 2022, the Kinéis constellation, which is fully backward compatible with existing Argos beacons,  is sure to be a revolution for the user community and open the door to many new applications to better protect and understand our environment.

 

Argos satellite launch schedule
Title photo: ANGELS satellite, copyright David Ducros

The Argos revolution

In 2022, with the new Argos constellation, Argos users will benefit from up to 35 operational satellites, which means a much faster revisit time. In addition, the new generation of Argos instruments will provide two-way communication and more data transmission.