SAT-AIS-PL is a satellite system for monitoring maritime traffic. The task for system is to collect information from the vessel tracking automatic identification system (AIS) for the needs of security and administration of maritime traffic. Transmission of data from ships to the ground stations will be upgraded with a new vDes standard, to be introduced by the International Telecommunication Union in the coming years. SAT-AIS-PL satellite is going to be the first Polish industrial satellite, and the construction of the satellite was commissioned to the industrial and scientific consortium chaired by Creotech Instruments SA, in accordance with the European Space Agency standards. SAT-AIS-PL satellite system is going to consist of the following elements:

The satellite weighing approx. 40 kg. with AIS signals receiver from transmitters installed on vessels and vDes module

Ground communication stations in Poland

Flight control center located in Poland,

AIS data terminals that provide data for users.

Potential users of data from the system are the Maritime Offices, Marine Rescue Service, the Polish Army, Border Guard.

Work on the SAT-AIS-PL satellite system is conducted by the industrial and academic Consortium under the leadership of Creotech Instruments SA. Creotech Instruments serves as the prime contractor and system integrator. Other members of the Consortium are:

Center for Space Research (Centrum Badań Kosmicznych PAN),

Gdynia Maritime University (Akademia Morska w Gdyni),

Institute of Communications (Instytut Łączności PIB),

ATOS Poland,

Hertz Systems,

Silesian Science and Technology Centre of Aviation Industry Ltd. (Śląskie Centrum Naukowo-Techniczne Przemysłu Lotniczego)

The entire project is expected to take seven years. Frame work schedule is as follows:

Years 2016-17 - Phase 0 / A / B1 - satellite mission project, the construction of subsystems demonstrators.

Years 2018-20 - Phase B2 / C / D / E1 - System development, construction and launch of the satellite.

Years 2020-2022 - Phase E2 / F - operational phase of the system and bringing the satellite from orbit after the completion.

Additional information:

Automatic Identification System (AIS) is a system of short-range coastal tracking of vessels and preventing their collision. It was developed to provide identification and position of ships and shore stations. AIS transponders automatically give this information at regular intervals. Identification and navigation data are transferred every 2 to 180 seconds, depending on the activity of the ship. Data associated with the vessel trip is sent every 6 minutes. AIS signals are received by the AIS transponders installed on other ships or coastal stations. AIS is mandatory for all vessels with displacement of 300 tons and more, operating on international waters, for cargo ships with displacement of 500 tons and more, operating on local waters, and for all passenger vessels.

International Maritime Organization (IMO) is the organization for international supervision over compliance with the AIS requirements, and European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) performs these tasks on European waters. At the national level in Poland the tasks are performed by Maritime Offices.

The horizontal range of AIS is 74 kilometers (40 nautical miles), which means that any ship at a further distance does not receive a signal from another vessel or shore station because of the curvature of the Earth's horizon. Hence the need to use satellites to collect and transmit AIS data to ships and shore stations located at distances greater than the horizontal AIS range. The use of satellites has significantly increased the safety of maritime traffic.


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