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  • richardmitnick 9:57 am on January 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Delay Tolerant Networks, , , ESA ADM-Aeolus satellite, ESA's Discovery and Preparation Programme, ESA's OPS-SAT CubeSat, European Data Relay System (EDRS), Space Internet   

    From European Space Agency: “Space Internet” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    From European Space Agency

    15 January 2019

    1
    The European Data Relay System (EDRS) uses advanced laser technology to relay information collected by lower orbiting satellites to the Earth via geostationary nodes.

    Every day satellites collect a wealth of information about Earth, but they must send it down to the ground before we can make use of it. Sometimes this data can be lost, damaged, or delayed, but our access to it could be improved using Delay Tolerant Networks (DTNs) – a new way of communicating with spacecraft.

    Imagine the inconvenience of only being able to send a message to a friend when your phones are directly facing each other with a perfect connection. Fortunately, the internet allows us to circumnavigate this problem by passing data to in-between nodes, and if your friend’s phone isn’t connected to the internet, the data is stored until it can be transferred to them.

    2
    ESA’s Aeolus satellite sending data to a ground station in Sweden (artist’s impression)

    ESA ADM-Aeolus satellite

    Currently communication with Earth observation satellites does not benefit from this internet-like transmission and storage of information through in-between nodes. Earth observation satellites only send data down to Earth when they are directly overhead a ground station. When a satellite isn’t facing a ground station, data starts queuing up. There is no system that automatically sort the queue to prioritise the sending of urgent data – information captured about natural disasters, perhaps – from the ordinary.

    Delay Tolerant Networks offer a solution in the form of using relay spacecraft and other ground stations. These would act as intermediate nodes that would be able to hold on to data and pass it on as soon as the next ‘hop’ is available, ensuring its safe delivery by relaying it up to a spacecraft or down to a ground station at just the right time. DTNs provide a new way of transmitting information, creating the foundation for a ‘space internet’.

    So far, DTNs have mostly been explored in the context of deep space – when distant planetary orbiters and rovers need to use intermediary nodes to communicate with Earth. But a team of researchers supported by ESA’s Discovery and Preparation Programme recently investigated the possible benefits of Delay Tolerant Networking for Earth observation.

    The team, made up of representatives from GMV INSYEN, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Solenix Deutschland and the University of Bologna analysed how DTNs could improve our communication with Earth observation spacecraft.

    2
    Different types of Delay Tolerant Networks

    Sebastian Martin, responsible for the project from ESA’s side, explains further, “DTNs allow information to be sent through a network that does not have a direct route from the starting point to the final receiver of information. In-between ‘nodes’ receive information and store it until they can send it on to a neighbour. In addition, DTNs can automatically schedule when to store information and when to forward it over different possible routes.”

    The team began by investigating how one of the existing Copernicus Sentinel missions could benefit from DTN technology. They then modelled a futuristic scenario with a full system of DTN-enabled Earth observation satellites, ground stations and control centres. In both scenarios, they found that the data automatically reached their destination via optimal routes and that the network correctly handled data with different priorities.

    3
    Sentinel-2 transmitting data by laser.Sentinel-2 carries an innovative high-resolution multispectral imager with 13 spectral bands for a new perspective of our land and vegetation. Once its data are acquired, they are sent to the core Sentinel ground stations in Italy, Spain and Norway. For continual data delivery, the satellite is also equipped with a laser terminal to transmit data to satellites in geostationary orbit carrying the European Data Relay System (EDRS). These satellites then transmit the Sentinel-2 data to the ground. Complementing the Sentinel ground-station network, EDRS ensures the timely availability of large volumes of data. Sentinel-1 carries the same laser terminal.

    They also looked into a second benefit of DTNs. When existing Earth observation satellites pass over ground stations on their orbits around Earth, a short amount of time at the beginning and the end of its pass is not used to transfer information. This is because there is a risk of data getting lost when the satellite is low over the horizon with a poor connection with the ground station. Using DTNs, it is possible to automatically check for lost data and get it resent. This means it is safer for satellites to attempt to send information as soon as the ground station is in sight, possibly resulting in more data being transferred during each pass of the satellite.

    Data can also be lost for other reasons, like bad weather. Optical communications, for example, can be severely affected by cloud cover, so to avoid loss of data it is necessary to wait for clear skies to send information. DTN networks would support this data being sent at any time, as lost data would be automatically detected and resent.

    A third advantage of DTNs is that data can be automatically prioritised. Michael Staub, who managed the project from GMV INSYEN, explains, “The DTNs that we created successfully sorted data depending on its priority, meaning that important observations – for example those made during natural disasters – would be sent as quickly as possible, even if other data joined the queue first.”

    This study is one step further in our understanding of how DTNs could revolutionise space communications. Next, experts will investigate how DTNs can be implemented technically, what data types would profit most, the potential impact on operations and operators, and where new markets and users could benefit from this technology.

    ESA Ops-sat Cubesat

    One option being considered for testing DTNs is ESA’s OPS-SAT CubeSat. The 30-centimetre high demonstrator will test out a large variety of technologies, including DTNs, to provide information useful for larger future missions. Eventually, the more spacecraft and ground stations using DTN technology, the more benefits the technology will bring.

    “Through this study, we have shown that DTNs would be very beneficial for Earth observation scenarios,” concludes Staub. “The networks we propose will enable organisations and commercial entities to interoperate, including encouraging the sharing of each other’s facilities and resources.”

    With space exploration becoming more complex, current communication networks become increasingly inadequate. DTNs would facilitate the next generation of space missions.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 8:27 am on September 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESA ADM-Aeolus satellite, Winds   

    From European Space Agency: “Aeolus wows with first wind data” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    From European Space Agency

    ESA ADM-Aeolus satellite

    1
    First wind data from ESA’s Aeolus satellite. These data are from three quarters of one orbit around Earth. The image shows large-scale easterly and westerly winds between Earth’s surface and the lower stratosphere, including jet streams. As the satellite orbits from the Arctic towards the Antarctic, it senses, for example, strong westerly winds streams, called tropospheric vortices (shown in blue) each side of the equator at mid latitudes. Orbiting further towards the Antarctic, Aeolus senses the strong westerly winds (shown in blue left of Antarctica and in red right of Antarctica) circling the Antarctic continent in the troposphere and stratosphere (Stratospheric Polar Vortex). The overall direction of the wind is the same along the polar vortex, but because the Aeolus wind product is related to the viewing direction of the satellite, the colour changes from blue to red as the satellite passes the Antarctic continent.

    12 September 2018

    Just one week after ESA’s Aeolus satellite shone a light on our atmosphere and returned a taster of what’s in store, this ground-breaking mission has again exceeded all expectations by delivering its first data on wind – a truly remarkable feat so early in its life in space.

    Florence Rabier, Director General of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), said, “We always knew that Aeolus would be an exceptional mission, but these first results have really impressed us.

    “The satellite hasn’t even been in orbit a month yet, but the results so far look extremely promising, far better than anyone expected at this early stage.

    “We are very proud to be part of the mission. Aeolus looks set to provide some of the most substantial improvements to our weather forecasts that we’ve seen over the past decade.”

    ESA’s Aeolus mission scientist, Anne Grete Straume, explained, “These first wind data shown in the plot made by ECMWF are from one orbit. In the profile we can see large-scale easterly and westerly winds between Earth’s surface and the lower stratosphere, including jet streams.

    3
    Earth’s wind patterns
    Copyright ESA/AOES Medialab
    The movement of air constitutes the general circulation of the atmosphere, transporting heat away from equatorial regions towards the poles, and returning cooler air to the tropics. Atmospheric circulation in each hemisphere consists of three cells – the Hadley, Ferrel and polar cells. High-speed wind fields, known as ‘jets’, are associated with large temperature differences.

    “In particular, you can see strong winds, called the Stratospheric Polar Vortex, around the South Pole. These winds play an important role in the depletion of the ozone layer over the South Pole at this time of the year.”

    Named after Aeolus, who in Greek mythology was appointed ‘keeper of the winds’ by the Gods, this novel mission is the fifth in the family of ESA’s Earth Explorers, which address the most urgent Earth-science questions of our time.

    It carries the first instrument of its kind and uses a completely new approach to measuring the wind from space.

    ESA’s Earth Explorer Programme manager, Danilo Muzi, said, “Aeolus carries revolutionary laser technology to address one of the major deficits in the Global Observing System: the lack of direct global wind measurements.

    “The essence of an Earth Explorer mission is to deliver data that advances our understanding of our home planet and that demonstrates cutting-edge space technology. With the first light measurements and now these amazing wind data, Aeolus has wowed us on both fronts.”

    ESA’s Aeolus instrument manager, Denny Wernham, noted, “These first results are truly amazing. It took years to develop this remarkable mission and everyone’s hard work is really paying off.

    “Aeolus’ Aladin instrument is extremely sensitive. When we switched it on we increased its energy levels step by step, checking it after every move.

    “It is indeed wonderful to see that it is behaving superbly so soon after launch.”

    Nicola Chamussy, Head of Airbus Space Systems, said, “These initial results look wonderful. Thanks to the meticulous preparatory work and testing, the mission is in really good shape. Our Aladin system engineer, Olivier Lecrenier, tells me that it has exceeded his best expectations.

    “Huge congratulations to everyone involved in this world first.”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 12:32 pm on August 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ESA ADM-Aeolus satellite, , Measure winds on Earth from Space   

    From European Space Agency: “Antenna down under” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    From European Space Agency

    ESA NNO-2 antenna relatively small antenna at at New Norcia in Australia

    Measuring 4.5 metres across, this relatively small antenna in Australia, dubbed NNO-2, will be the first to hear from the soon-to-be-launched Aeolus satellite, the first ever to measure winds on Earth from Space.

    ESA ADM-Aeolus satellite

    Set for liftoff on 21 August 2018, at 21:20 GMT (23:20 CEST), Europe’s wind satellite will be lifted into space on a Vega rocket. Once the pair have reached the required orbital altitude, at about 320 km, the satellite will separate from its carrier, marking the beginning of its free flight journey around our planet.

    Aeolus’ first steps after separation will include the automatic unfolding of its solar ‘wings’ and turning its antenna to face Earth to start sending signals. Only then will teams on the ground be able to get any sign from the satellite that all is well.

    Until this point, for the first nervous moments after launch — about one hour and ten minutes — mission teams will be patiently waiting for the first message to be captured and transmitted by this small antenna at New Norcia, Australia.

    Since 2015, NNO-2 has been pointing to space, listening for signals from rockets and newly launched satellites and transmitting instructions and commands to them from engineers on Earth.

    This small and agile dish quickly and precisely locks onto and tracks satellites during their critical first orbits. As part of Estrack, ESA’s global system of ground stations, it provides vital links between satellites in orbit and the flight control teams at ESA’s mission control centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

    You can watch the Aeolus launch live via the ESA homepage, and follow @esaoperations for updates on the crucial period that follows, as mission teams regain control of the satellite, finally hearing its ‘first words’.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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