Ground Station 101

A standard mission with an aim to collect one sort of space data uses three operational components: space, ground, and user segments. This time, we will focus on the ground component, showcase its use cases, and how it communicates with the space segment (orbital satellites).

Ground Station 101
Source: Nasa.gov

Ground System

  • Ground Station: Receives raw data from satellites and transmits commands to them. The process of receiving is called downlink; the process of sending commands to the satellite is called uplink.
  • Mission Operations Center (MOC):
    - Commands the spacecraft through uplink;
    - Monitors spacecraft performance;
    - Requests and retrieves data through downlink;
  • Science Operations Center (SOC):
    - Generates and disseminates science data products
    - Determines science operations be relayed to the MOC
  • Data Storage and Network: Handles the data exchange between the MOC, the SOC and the stations, or forwards it to users

What are the primary elements of a Ground System?

Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) is located at Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Pacific, Wahiawa, Hawaii. Source: US Navy
  1. Ground Stations are used for telemetry, tracking, and communicating with spacecraft. The core components of a ground station are an antenna and a hardware stack underneath, usually a collection of transceivers, servers and other items that pass the data down the pipeline.
  2. Ground Station Networks are a seamlessly connected grid of Ground Stations.
  3. Control Centers are used for spacecraft operations management.

Ground Station Network

How do Ground Stations communicate with Satellites?

Credits: NASA

What’s the price of running a Ground Station? How does GSaaS make a change?

A lot of amateur space enthusiasts are making fully operational DIY ground stations. Can you make one too?

Source: Publiclab.org; @sashae, @sophied.

The future is clear for the space data industry. Why?

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