The Norwegian Space Agency successfully launched the NorSat-3 maritime tracking microsatellite built by Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) on April 28, 2021, aboard Vega Flight VV 18 from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana. NorSat-3 is the 17th SFL satellite launched in the last eight months.
NorSat-3 carries two instrument payloads. The primary device is an Automatic Identification System (AIS) receiver that acquires messages from civilian maritime vessels to provide information on ship locations and marine traffic. The microsatellite is also equipped with an experimental navigation radar detector developed by the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment to augment the AIS receiver.
Combining a navigation radar detector and AIS receiver will potentially provide much better maritime awareness for the Norwegian Coastal Administration, Armed Forces and other maritime authorities. Detections of navigation radar from ships will provide the ability to verify the accuracy of received AIS messages and detect ships whose AIS messages have not been received.