RazakSAT scheduled to launch

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Finally after almost ten (10) years after the first satellite TiungSAT-1

RazakSAT to orbit the Near equatorial orbit (NEqO – 635km from the earth surface ) also known as Low Earth Orbit.

Check for detail about Orbit [wikipedia] and Low Earth Orbit

RazakSAT is planned to orbit the earth in NEqO orbit at a nominal altitude of 685 km and 9 degrees (targeted) inclination. RazakSAT provides a high number ...

White Paper on RazakSAT[pdf]

Long awaited moment finally come ..

Well, it just started the sequence to transport it to Launch Site.

From the News Strait Times and also New Sabah Times

KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia will send into space the world's first remote sensing satellite to orbit the equator on April 21, providing high resolution images of Malaysia that can be used to provide information on land management, forestry and security.
The 190kg satellite, RazakSAT, which will orbit the equator every 100 minutes, will also be used to gather photographic data on resource development, conservation and fish migration.
Named after Malaysia's second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak, the satellite was developed by the Aeronautical Engineering Sdn Bhd (ATSB), a company under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. It will be launched using a US rocket named Falcon-1.
RazakSAT will orbit at an altitude of 685km after it takes off from its launch pad at Kwajalein Island in the Marshall Islands.
ATSB chief executive officer Datuk Dr Ahmad Sabirin Arshad said the satellite could be used to provide important information on Malaysia.
"The orbit for satellites is usually north to south, and this is known as the polar orbit.
"Malaysia is at the equator, so we should be able to see the benefits of a satellite (that orbits the equator). It will provide important details for analysis," he said yesterday.
The satellite which left the Royal Malaysian Air Force base in Subang at 10.15am on a C-130H military aircraft, touched down at the international airport here at 1.50pm for re-fuelling, before continuing a 7-hour journey to Guam.
RMAF Lt-Col Raja Mohar Raja Rahman is the captain of the flight, which will then make its final 5-hour journey to Kwajalein Island.
Earlier, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovations Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili said RazakSAT was a testimony of the talent and capability of local scientists in space technology.
He was speaking at the Subang Air Base before sending off the satellite on board a RMAF aircraft.
RazakSat is equipped with a medium-sized aperture camera (MAC) to capture high resolution images of the Earth along the near equatorial orbit and can be useful especially to the ministry's Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency, which conducts research in satellite applications in agriculture, natural disasters, fish migration, security as well as land and forest management.
Dr Ongkili said the MAC onboard RazakSAT had a better focusing capability compared to the previous satellite, the experimental TiungSAT.
Two small satellites would also be launched together with RazakSAT from Kwajalein for educational purposes.
One of them CubeSAT was developed by ATSB, while the other, InnoSAT, was developed by Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and Universiti Malaysia Perlis, both of which were funded by the ministry.
The prime minister and cabinet members are expected to follow the launch from the National Space Centre in Kg Sg Lang, Banting.

What to expect ?
Shall be about the same level as this one..
this is the 5m resolution .
GeoEYE product of 5m resolution

GeoEYE product of 5m resolution

from GeoEYE project, which is been adopted by Google Earth.

more less 2m resolution will be twice the quality of the above image ?

let's wait .. if I recalled correctly... the first image of RazakSAT will be featured in "FrontPage" of every newspaper in Malaysia..

wait until 21st April 2009..

HawkEYE is not a derivative of any the above satellite though.. .. 8-)

p/s : how much is the cost for GeoEYE and what will the RazakSAT total cost ?
might also one to consider the following into the account :
-- lifetime of a satellite.
-- total payload.
-- the purpose.

source :

1. Medium-sized aperture camera for earth observation

2. Development of engineering model of medium-sized aperture camera system

3. GeoEYE

4. RazakSAT Detail from ATSB.

Medium-sized aperture camera for earth observation
Kim, Eugene D.; Choi, Young-Wan; Kang, Myung-Seok; Kim, Ee-Eul; Yang, Ho-Soon; Rasheed, Ad. Aziz Ad.; Arshad, Ahmad Sabirin
In: Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Space Optics (ICSO 2004), 30 March - 2 April 2004, Toulouse, France. Ed.: B. Warmbein. ESA SP-554, Noordwijk, Netherlands: ESA Publications Division, ISBN 92-9092-865-4, 2004, p. 137 - 140

Satrec Initiative and ATSB have been developing a medium-sized aperture camera (MAC) for an earth observation payload on a small satellite. Developed as a push-broom type high-resolution camera, the camera has one panchromatic and four multispectral channels. The panchromatic channel has 2.5m, and multispectral channels have 5m of ground sampling distances at a nominal altitude of 685km. The 300mm-aperture Cassegrain telescope contains two aspheric mirrors and two spherical correction lenses. With a philosophy of building a simple and cost-effective camera, the mirrors incorporate no light-weighting, and the linear CCDs are mounted on a single PCB with no beam splitters. MAC is the main payload of RazakSAT to be launched in 2005. RazakSAT is a 180kg satellite including MAC, designed to provide high-resolution imagery of 20km swath width on a near equatorial orbit (NEqO). The mission objective is to demonstrate the capability of a high-resolution remote sensing satellite system on a near equatorial orbit. This paper describes the overview of the MAC and RarakSAT programmes, and presents the current development status of MAC focusing on key optical aspects of Qualification Model.

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Available online 17 November 2004.


SaTReCi and ATSB are developing medium-sized aperture camera (MAC) system for earth observation. Following the first model, the development of the engineering model (EM) was completed. The optical subsystem incorporates a conventional approach of using low-expansion optical and structural materials. It is a 300-mm on-axis system with two aspheric mirrors and two field correction lenses. It has five linear detectors aligned on its focal plane together with proximity electronics. The electronics subsystem consists of five modules; two for management and control in cold redundancy, two for image data storage and one for power supply. EM was developed to have a storage capacity of 16 Gbits, which can be easily increased to 32 Gbits by adding memory packs for following models. EM weighs about 41.9 kg and consumes about 45.4 W of peak power.

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Characteristics and Capabilities

Spatial characteristics:
2.5m for panchromatic and 5.0m for multi-spectral with swath width of 2.0km. This allows for mapping scales of 1:25000 and 1:50000.

Spectral characteristic:
Spectral range covers visible to near infrared. Main features of the Earth can be identified and classified with advanced processing.im1

Radiometric resolution:
8-bit. This enables Earth features to be represented in 256 digital levels.

Temporal resolution:
Up to 14 times of imaging opportunities per day over tropical area in ±9° latitude from the equator. Tilting is possible for further deviations of up to ±30°.

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4 thoughts on “RazakSAT scheduled to launch

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  2. [CrY]


    Inside Razaksat
    Print_button Print

    Jonathon Powers, Monday 07 Apr 2008

    Sometime in the next few months, Malaysia will finally launch its Razaksat-1 satellite, its first attempt at an Earth observation vehicle join up. At least it will if plans go according to schedule.

    It’s a big ‘if’. The satellite is already three years late (and counting). The original plan was to launch the satellite in 2005, but that was delayed due to problems with the launch vehicle and with the satellite itself.

    Last year, there were plans to celebrate the 50th Independence Day on 31 August 2007 with a space flight. There were good reasons for deciding on such a symbolic date. Apart from the need to get the long anticipated satellite into orbit as soon as possible, space technology represents part of the political vision in Malaysia. The government has committed to making the country a member of the developed world by 2020.

    To do that, nurturing its science and engineering expertise is essential.

    But there is many a slip t’wixt cup and lip. Malaysia’s Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jamaludin Jarjis told a conference early in 2007 that the government had signed off on a private American-based company, SpaceX, to undertake the launch.

    But that launch was cancelled. Now the launch is set for early in the second quarter of 2008.
    The Razaksat satellite will be launched on a radical new rocket.

    Under the plan agreed by Minister Jarjis, Razaksat will be launched from Omelek Island, one of the Marshall Islands, using the SpaceX Falcon 1 launch vehicle.

    But it’s the launch vehicle that is the problem. Falcon is the first practical orbital delivery system funded entirely by private money. SpaceX is a space transportation startup company, founded by PayPal’s founder Elon Musk to provide commercial launch-to-space services.

    Musk is, of course, a master of spin. In fact, the program to date has largely been funded by the Pentagon. The development of the Falcon was indeed privately funded, but the Department of Defence paid for the first two test flights – in 2006 and 2007 – under a program that evaluates new US-built launch vehicles.

    Both payloads were funded by the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

    Neither of these payloads achieved orbit. However, according to SpaceX publicity, the second test launch was largely successful. As a result, SpaceX declared Falcon 1 fully operational. First client: Malaysia.

    None of this will matter if the launch is successful. The great beauty of the Falcon is that it is cheap. Most sources agree the Malaysians are paying around $7 million for the flight, although the Malaysian government has not confirmed that figure. If it can be made to work, it will revolutionise the economics of getting small payloads into space.

    The government owned ATSB is the prime contractor on Razaksat-1. It is the second satellite produced by ATSB for the Malaysian government. The first, Tiungsat-1, was launched in 2000.

    The Razaksat program has cost the Malaysians RM60 million (about $17 million).

    According to the country’s Deputy Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, Datuk Kong Cho Ha, the same satellite would have cost ten times more if it had been imported from another country.

    Razaksat started life as MACSat (Medium-sized Aperture Camera Satellite), a joint development program between Astronautic Technology and Satrec Initiative Co. in South Korea. Satrec took responsibility for the optical payload.

    The program started at the end of 2001, with the aim of completing the development by the end of 2003. The satellite was eventually delivered late in 2006.

    There is much that is noteworthy in the Razaksat project. At 150 kg, it will offer 2.5 metre resolution in its pan mode, about the same as Spot-5, but at a tenth of the price and mass.

    It is an example of the impact of highly integrated electronics on satellite design.

    Even more interesting, Razaksat will be placed into a novel orbit – it will be inclined only nine degrees to the equator.

    Normally, remote sensing satellites orbit near 90 degrees. This way, the satellite flies over every spot on Earth sooner or later. However, the time between visits is measured in days.

    Razaksat will only see the equatorial regions, but it will see them often. Its orbit will bring it within sight of any given point every 100 minutes or so – although it may not be possible to get a nadir view of regions near 9 degrees north or south for up to 25 days. Even so, its orbit will carry it over some portion of Malaysia 14 times a day.

    Speaking during a recent space conference in Kuala Lumpur, Norhizam Hamzah from ATSB said the aim is to optimise the potential for optical remote sensing in what is a very cloudy part of the world. They estimate that any given point under the Razaksat orbit will be obscured by cloud about 80 per cent of the time. The orbit will allow them to exploit the other 20 per cent.

    This does not happen in classic remote sensing satellite orbits, so it can be months, even years, between the coincidence of a cloudless scene in the equatorial regions and an available satellite.

    The MAC instrument is a pushbroom camera with five linear detectors (one panchromatic, four multi-spectral). The pan sensor will – at the nominal 685 kilometre orbital altitude – give 2.5 metre resolution. The MSS will give 5 metres. It will be possible to pan-sharpen the MSS imagery to generate 2.5 metre colour. Each pixel will be 8 bits deep. The swath will be about 20 kilometres wide.

    The satellite can store up to store up to 30 Gbit/s on board, which is equivalent to a 20 x 600 km strip. The satellite will be able to tilt 30 degrees across track.

    To download this data, the satellite will be heavily dependent on an X-band communications link that can transfer data at 30 Mbit/s. There are also a number of other channels available with speeds of 9600 bit/s, 1200 bit/s and 38.4 kbit/s. However, these are intended for control and communications telemetry only.

    Given the height of its orbit, Razaksat will be in contact with controllers for about 500 seconds every orbit. This implies a download of about 11 Gbit/s each orbit on the X band link – for a nominal scene size of 20 x 200 km.

    Operations will be conducted at the mission control ground station run by the Malaysian National Space Agency (Ankasa) in Banting, Selangor.

    Ankasa will provide four levels of Radarsat products. Level 0 products will be radiometrically corrected, level 1 systematically corrected, level 2 precision corrected and level 3 ortho-rectified. Radiometric correction removes radiometric errors and distortion. Systematic, precision and ortho-rectification correction successively remove more and more geometric distortion.

    Processing for level 0 and 1 is based on ancillary data transmitted from the satellite or built into the processing system. Level 2 and 3 products will be corrected with Ground Control Points and a digital elevation model.

    Given the constraints of the orbit, ATSB is anxious to reach as many users as possible in equatorial countries. ATSB made an announcement of opportunities in mid-2007, under which it will co-operate with researchers – both inside and outside Malaysia – to develop applications for Razaksat data.

    It will be interesting to observe users’ reaction to this spacecraft, the first designed explicitly for equatorial remote sensing. The other method of combating cloud, of course, is to use radar.

    In 2008, two high resolution radar satellites – Radarsat-2 and TerraSAR-X – will become available to users. They both have a nominal one metre spatial resolution mode, and both are intended for the same users served by optical satellites.

  3. [CrY]


    Press Release

    SGI Technology Powers Real-time Data Processing of Satellite Images for Astronautic Technology

    SGI Altix and SGI InfiniteStorage Systems Meet Massive Data Processing Demands of High-Resolution Earth Imagery

    SAN ANTONIO, TX. GEOINT 2007, Booth 475 (October 23, 2007) — To receive, process and distribute high-resolution imagery obtained by Malaysia’s Earth observation satellite, Astronautic Technology Sdn Bhd (ATSB) selected a wide range of high-performance compute and storage technology from SGI (NASDAQ: SGIC). The SGI-powered real-time data processing system was installed in July in preparation for the launch of the RazakSATTM spacecraft. Currently, Malaysian agencies requiring satellite imagery rely upon image data and information provided by satellites manufactured and operated by foreign companies. Due to the orbit in which these satellites are located, the images provided are neither timely enough nor do they cater to Malaysia’s specific uses and needs. Malaysia’s own satellite is a highly specialized payload requiring high performance ground ingest and processing capabilities that will provide specific and timely data for its users in Malaysia as well as catering to the needs of other countries located on the equatorial belt.

    The RazakSAT satellite will be operated through its ground station in Malaysia, consisting of a Mission Control Station (MCS) and Image Receiving and Processing Station (IRPS), where the SGI systems are housed. ATSB’s engineers are operators at the MCS and will execute RazakSAT’s mission plan, command generation and telemetry receiving, archiving and analysis. Using the SGI real-time image and data processing system, which includes an SGI® Altix® 350 server running Oracle® as the database for their image processing application, the IPRS will receive images for archive, post-processing and distribution.

    “The power of SGI Altix global shared-memory architecture is ideal for the data processing needs of high-resolution Earth imagery satellite data,” said Shamsulazwan Samsuddin, Spacecraft Engineer, Astronautic Technology. “By providing 64-bit processing power to model the sensors and re-sample all this data onto a geographic system, SGI technology optimizes our application performance and interactivity for image manipulation and delivers real-time visualization with large models and enormous data sets.” The SGI system receiving and processing satellite image data in real time was developed to provide not only highly accurate image products but also systematic and automatic operation. The system is designed for multi-satellite data handling capability. ATSB selected SGI in part because of SGI’s history of powering and optimizing satellite ground stations and easily expandable architecture, which includes 2TB of SGI InfiniteStorage that can grow with image and data requirements.

    The development of the RazakSAT satellite system is a collaborative program between ATSB and SaTReC Initiative Co. Ltd., Republic of Korea. SaTReC Initiative provides a whole spectrum of Earth observation satellite systems including spacecraft buses, Earth observation payloads, communications equipment and satellite image receiving and processing systems. The overall objectives of the collaboration is to demonstrate indigenous spacecraft design and manufacturing competence, to get involved in all aspects of high-resolution image observations and processing in a near equatorial LEO orbit (NeqO) for a number of applications in developing countries, and to develop technology for future missions.

    SaTReC uses a variety of off-the-shelf software and writes many in-house propriety codes where much of the high-end value-added work for ATSB is produced. All the codes are written in an open system platform, which makes the Linux® OS environment of the SGI Altix systems compatible with the requirements set by the company. Additionally, according to ATSB engineers, the SGI Altix system powered by Intel® Itanium® 2 processors has some of the best floating point performance relative to fixed-point performance of any general-purpose microprocessor for their floating-point based application.

    “Astronautic Technology researched other vendors and determined SGI delivered the bandwidth, compute power, and real-time performance necessary to process large data sets from Malaysia’s first Earth-observation satellite,” said Nicholas K. C. Low, Country Sales Manager, Silicon Graphics Sdn. Bhd, SGI’s operating subsidiary. “SGI systems for satellite image processing are the choice of many government operations and universities throughout the world for their performance, reliability and security.”

    SGI – Innovation for Results™
    SGI (NASDAQ: SGIC), is a leader in high-performance computing. SGI delivers a complete range of high-performance server and storage solutions along with industry-leading professional services and support that enable its customers to overcome the challenges of complex data-intensive workflows and accelerate breakthrough discoveries, innovation and information transformation. SGI solutions help customers solve their computing challenges whether it’s enhancing the quality of life through drug research, designing and manufacturing safer and more efficient cars and airplanes, studying global climate change, providing technologies for homeland security and defense, or helping enterprises manage large data. With offices worldwide, the company is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., and can be found on the Web at http://www.sgi.com.

    © 2007 SGI. All rights reserved. SGI, Altix, the SGI cube and the SGI logo are registered trademarks of SGI in the United States and/or other countries worldwide. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in several countries. Intel and Itanium are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. Oracle is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation and/or its affiliates. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.

  4. [CrY]


    MACSAT (Medium-sized Aperture Camera Satellite) development project is a joint development program between Astronautic Technology (M) Sdn. Bhd. of Malaysia and Satrec Initiative, which started from end of 2001 and is aiming to complete the development by the end of 2003. MACSAT has now been renamed RazakSAT.

    The MACSAT mission is to develop and validate technologies for a Near Equatorial Orbit (NEO) remote sensing mini-satellite system to acquire medium high resolution images. Due to its orbital and coverage characteristics, Malaysia and other countires in Equatorial region can have large benefit from NEO satellite operation. From the low Earth circular orbit of 685 km altitude with 7 degrees of inclination, geographical information and environment change over equatorial region can also be regularly observed with a unique revisit characteristic.

    Nation: Malaysia
    Type / Application: Earth observation
    Contractors: Astronautic Technology (M) Sdn. Bhd, Satrec Initiative
    Equipment: MAC
    Configuration: SI-200 bus
    Mass: 200 kg
    Orbit: 685 km x 685 km, 7°

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