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Arcturus (Aurora 4A)

Arcturus [Astranis]

Astranis builds Arcturus (also known as Aurora 4A), a small geostationary high-throughput communications satellite to be used to provide broadband communications services for Alaska for Pacific Dataport. Astranis will be the owner and operator of the satellite.

The 300 kg satellite is to use electric propulsion to reach geostationary orbit. The Ku-band HTP communications payload will provide Alaska with a 7.5 gigabits per second capacity. Initially consumers will be able to utilize a 25 megabits downlink and a 3 megabit uplink.

Astranis was to launch the satellite in the 4th quarter of 2020 on a SpaceX Falcon-9 v1.2 (Block 5) rocket from Cape Canaveral, likely on a shared launch. The launch has been delayed to 2022 with the satellite being moved to a shared Falcon-Heavy (Block 5)(ex) launch, which allows a direct insertion to geostationary orbit.

After reaching orbit, Arcturus suffered a solar array drive malfunction, which only allows the satellite to be operational between 6 and 12 hours per day. It will be temporarily replaced with UtilitySat 1, which is to launch later in 2023, until a full replacement is available. Arcturus will be used to demonstrate secure uplink and downlink from San Francisco to Alaska, and back for the Department of Defense.

In February 2024 Astranis announced that the satellite will be moved to an undisclosed orbital position, where it will spend three months to satisfy Israeli operator Spacecom’s reservation for the orbital slot under international regulatory rules. Aftwerwards it will be moved back to the 163° West slot.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Communications
Operator: Astranis, Pacific Dataport
Contractors: Astranis
Equipment: Ku-band HTP payload
Configuration: MicroGEO
Propulsion: PPS-1350
Power: Solar cells, batteries
Lifetime: 7 years
Mass: 300 kg
Orbit: GEO
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Arcturus (Aurora 4A) 2023-060B 01.05.2023 CCK LC-39A Falcon-Heavy (Block 5)(ex) with ViaSat 3.1, G-Space 1
Further Aurora missions:

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