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

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:; @sashae, @sophied.

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

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