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  • richardmitnick 10:57 am on December 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ESA ESTRACK   

    From ESA: “Tracking downunder” 

    ESASpaceForEuropeBanner
    European Space Agency

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    Credits: D. O’Donnell/ESA – CC BY-SA 3.0

    This image shows the 35 m-diameter dish antenna of ESA’s deep-space tracking station at New Norcia, Australia, illuminated by ground lights against the night sky on 3 August 2015.

    New Norcia (DSA-1) is part of the Agency’s Estrack ground station network; it is located 140 km north of Perth, Western Australia, about 8 km from the town of New Norcia.

    Estrack is a global system of ground stations providing links between satellites in orbit and the European Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, Germany. The core network comprises 10 stations in seven countries.

    The essential task of all ESA tracking stations is to communicate with spacecraft, transmitting commands and receiving scientific data and spacecraft status information.

    Our technically advanced stations can track spacecraft almost anywhere – circling Earth, watching the Sun, orbiting at the scientifically crucial Sun–Earth Lagrange points or voyaging deep into our Solar System.

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    Lagrangian points

    Like its sister 35 m stations at Cebreros, Spain, and Malargüe, Argentina, New Norcia station uses advanced European technology to communicate with deep-space missions such as Mars Express, Rosetta, BepiColombo and Gaia

    ESA Mars Express Orbiter
    Mars Express

    ESA Rosetta spacecraft
    Rosetta

    ESA BepiColumbo
    BepiColumbo

    ESA Gaia satellite
    Gaia

    ESA shares Estrack capacity with other space agencies, who in turn support ESA missions. For example, NASA’s Deep Space Network routinely supports Rosetta and Mars Express, while Estrack is working with Japan’s Hayabusa-2 asteroid mission.

    Hayabasu spacecraft
    Hayabusa-2

    In recent years, Estrack has supported missions operated by China and Russia, as well as tracking the descent of NASA rovers to the surface of Mars.

    This global cooperation allows all agencies to make use of a wide number of ground stations in geographically advantageous locations, maximising efficiency and boosting scientific returns for all.

    In 2015, Estrack turns 40 and will celebrate four decades of linking people with spacecraft travelling to the frontiers of human knowledge.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    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 November 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESA ESTRACK   

    From ESA: “Tracking new missions from down under” 

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    European Space Agency

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    A new 4.5 m-diameter ‘acquisition aid’ dish antenna is being added to ESA’s existing New Norcia, Western Australia, tracking station, ready to catch the first signals from newly launched missions. The new antenna will allow acquisition and tracking during the critical initial orbits of new missions (see Liftoff: ESOC assumes control), up to roughly 100 000 km range. It can also ‘slave’ the much larger 35m dish, which can then be used to retrieve ranging data and telemetry signals – on-board status information – from the newly launched spacecraft.

    24 November 2015

    For beachgoers, Australia’s pristine west coast is an ideal location to catch some rays. It is also ideal for catching signals from newly launched rockets and satellites, which is one reason why ESA is redeveloping its tracking capabilities down under.

    When rockets and their satellites leap into the sky from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, they typically head east across the Atlantic, rising higher and faster with every second.

    Some 50 minutes after launch, the new mission can be seen from Western Australia, rising up from the Indian Ocean horizon and then arcing high in the sky, already in space.

    By the time the satellite, travelling at some 28 000 km/h, separates to start its life in orbit, it will already be in radio range of the land down under.

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    ESA’s New Norcia station, DSA 1 (Deep Space Antenna 1), hosts a 35-metre deep-space antenna (NNO-1) together with a new 4.5-metre ‘acquisition aid’ antenna (NNO-2). It is located 140 kilometres north of Perth, Western Australia, close to the town of New Norcia. The large dish is designed for communicating with deep-space missions and provides support to spacecraft such as Mars Express, Rosetta and Gaia for routine operations. The small dish allows acquisition and tracking during the critical initial orbits of new missions, up to roughly 100 000 km range.

    By early next year, a new radio dish will be working at ESA’s existing New Norcia, Western Australia, tracking station, tracking station, ready to catch the first signals from new missions.

    New Norcia currently has a large, 35 m-diameter dish for tracking deep-space missions such as Rosetta, Mars Express and Gaia, typically voyaging in the Solar System several hundred million km away.

    ESA Rosetta spacecraft
    Rosetta

    ESA Mars Express Orbiter
    Mars ExpressESA Gaia satellite
    GAIA

    Its size and technology are not ideal, however, for initial signalling to new satellites in low-Earth orbit.

    In contrast, the new dish, just 4.5 m across, will lock onto and track new satellites during the critical initial orbits (see Liftoff: ESOC assumes control), up to roughly 100 000 km out.

    It can also ‘slave’ the much larger dish, which can then receive ranging data and telemetry – onboard status information – from the new spacecraft.

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    Mission control team watch liftoff from the Main Control Room at ESOC, ESA’s European Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, 15 July 2015

    “For satellite signals, the new dish has a wider field of view than the 35 m antenna,” says Gunther Sessler, ESA’s project manager, “and can grab the signal even when the new satellite’s position is not precisely known.

    “It also offers rapid sky searches in case the satellite’s position after separation is completely unknown, which can happen if the rocket over- or under-performs.”

    In addition to satellites, the new antenna can also track rockets, including Ariane 5, Vega and Soyuz.

    The upgrade was prompted by the need to move the capability that, so far, has been provided by the ESA tracking station at Perth, 140 km southeast of New Norcia.

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    23/12/2004 ESA’s Perth station hosts a 15-metre antenna with transmission and reception in both S- and X-band and provides routine support for XMM-Newton and Cluster, as well as other missions during their Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP). It is located 20 kms north of Perth on the campus of the Perth International Telecommunications Centre (PITC).

    That station’s location has become increasingly untenable through urban sprawl and radio interference from TV broadcast vans.

    The upgrade ensures that ESA’s Estrack tracking network can continue providing crucial satellite services along the most-used trajectories.

    “With the closing of Perth station, ESA would have lost its capability in Western Australia, which is a critical location for most European missions,” says Manfred Lugert, ground facilities manager at ESA’s operations centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

    The antenna was designed for low maintenance and operating costs and can go into hibernation when it is not needed between launches.

    Perth station will remain in operation until the end of 2015, when it will be dismantled and many of its components reused at other ESA stations.

    Once testing is completed, the dish will enter service in early 2016 in time for Galileo navsat launches and the first ExoMars mission, in March.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    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 9:01 am on May 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ESA ESTRACK   

    From ESA: “Four Decades of Tracking European Spacecraft” 

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    European Space Agency

    18 May 2015
    No Writer Credit

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    Villafranca tracking station 1977

    Forty years ago this week, a satellite ground station in Spain became the first to be assigned to what would become ESA. Since then, the network – Estrack – has expanded worldwide and today employs cutting-edge technology to link mission controllers with spacecraft orbiting Earth, voyaging deep in our Solar System or anywhere in between.

    On 19 May 1975, a ground station at Villafranca del Castillo, Spain, built for the International Ultraviolet Explorer satellite was assigned to ESRO to support future ESA missions.

    Later that month, ESRO merged with ELDO to form ESA, and the Villafranca station became the kernel of Estrack.

    The 15 m-diameter parabolic dish antenna of the Villafranca station has been part of many major ESA missions, including Marecs, Exosat, ISO, Integral and Cluster, and, more recently, XMM and ATV .

    It was later joined by similar stations in Sweden, Spain, French Guiana, Belgium and Australia, all optimised for tracking satellites near Earth. The original Villafranca location has since become ESAC, the European Space Astronomy Centre, ESA’s major establishment in Spain.

    Estrack has evolved with the expanding needs of ESA’s science, Earth and exploration missions. Today, there are 10 stations in seven countries, all centrally managed from ESOC, the European Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, Germany.


    Download at YouTube

    The essential task of Estrack stations is to communicate with spacecraft, transmitting commands and receiving scientific data and spacecraft status information. They also gather ‘radiometric’ information to help mission controllers know the location, trajectory and speed of their spacecraft.

    Tracking is provided through all phases of a mission, from ‘LEOP’ – the critical Launch and Early Orbit Phase – through to routine operations and ultimately deorbiting and safe disposal. Estrack also tracks rockets flying from Kourou in French Guiana.

    In a typical year, stations provide over 45 000 hours of tracking to more than 20 missions, with an enviable service availability rate above 99%.

    In the 2000s, the first of three 35 m-diameter Deep Space Antennas was built in New Norcia, Australia, followed by stations at Cebreros, Spain, and Malargüe, Argentina. These feature some of the world’s best tracking station technology and enable communications with spacecraft exploring planets, watching the Sun or located at the scientifically crucial Sun–Earth Lagrange points.

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    Malargüe under construction 2011

    In January 2014, Estrack received signals and sent commands to Rosetta, then travelling some 800 million km from Earth.

    Estrack routinely communicates with missions voyaging across our Solar System, including not only ESA missions like Rosetta, Venus Express and Mars Express but also partner missions like Japan’s Hayabusa-2, heading towards an asteroid landing in 2018.

    The capabilities of the network enable Estrack stations to support missions of other space agencies in the US, France, Germany, Japan, Russia and China.

    In future, the three deep-space stations will be upgraded to use ultra-high radio frequencies, necessary to boost scientific data delivery from missions like BepiColombo and Juice. Of course, the network will continue to work with Earth observation missions and perform critical LEOP and launcher tracking.

    Happy birthday, Estrack! And congratulations on four decades of linking people with spacecraft travelling to the frontiers of human knowledge.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    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 10:44 am on December 14, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , ESA ESTRACK   

    News From ESA – ESTRACK Addition 

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    European Sapce Agency

    XMM Newton
    XMM-Newton

    herschelHerschel


    Planck

    ESA has their own great news, this time on solid earth.

    “ESA’s new tracking station in Malargüe, Argentina, will be formally inaugurated on 18 December 2012 and enter service early in 2013. The massive, 35 m-diameter antenna enables receipt of precious scientific data from current and future missions voyaging hundreds of millions of kilometres into our Solar System.
    Inauguration of Malargüe also marks the completion of the Agency’s trio of deep-space antenna (DSA) stations as part of the ESTRACK network and confirms ESA as one of the world’s most technologically advanced space organisations.”

    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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