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Satellite-based AIS

The Norwegian Coastal Administration uses AIS data from Norwegian satellites AISSat-1, AISSat-2, NorSat-1 and NorSat-2 to monitor vessel traffic in sea areas off the coast of Norway and Svalbard.


AISSat is developed by the Norwegian Coastal Administration in cooperation with the Norwegian Space Centre, Norwegian Defence Research Establishment and Kongsberg Seatex.

Facts about AISSat:

  • Nanosatellites measuring 20 x 20 x 20 cm.
  • Travels in a polar orbit at an altitude of around 600 kilometres. Have long range and observes extensive sea areas.
  • Passes over sea areas near Norway and receives AIS information from ship traffic every 10 minutes.

The Norwegian Coastal Administration distributes AIS information to other governmental agencies in Norway. The Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) centre in Vardø, responsible for monitoring ship traffic in the Norwegian maritime zone, and the Joint Rescue Coordination Centres, receive AIS signals from ships in the Norwegian maritime zone directly into their monitoring systems through the AIS satellite service.

Satellite-based AIS information make it easier and quicker for Vessel Traffic Service centres and the Joint Rescue Coordination Centres to get an overview of ship traffic, locate the position of ships in distress or ships requiring assistance, and to locate nearby ships that can provide assistance. Satellite-based AIS also enable authorities to identify vessels that are responsible for oil spills in the maritime zone.

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