Tracking & Command: ESA to host international conference

16 August 2007

Telemetry, Tracking and Command systems are crucial for space operations. The high level of international participation expected at next month's TT&C conference highlights the growing level of inter-agency cooperation.

Recent developments in the areas of telecommunications, computing and electronics are providing new capabilities in the design, functionality, operation and economics of Telemetry, Tracking and Command (TT&C) systems, both spaceborne and those located on earth in the ground segment. Further, space and ground communication systems are increasingly shifting to higher frequency bands to boost data rates, boosting the amount of scientific data that can be returned from spacecraft in deep space.

Deep space requires improved tracking accuracy

"Many future missions are what we call 'deep-space missions', with transmissions coming to Earth from millions of kilometres. Tracking these requires sophisticated technologies such as cryogenics for the ground station receivers and new high-power amplifiers," says Nicholas Bobrinsky, Head of Ground Station Systems at ESA's Space Operations Centre (ESOC), Darmstadt, Germany.

4th ESA International Workshop on Tracking, Telemetry and Command Systems for Space Applications

On 11-14 September 2007, ESOC will host the 4th ESA International Workshop on Tracking, Telemetry and Command Systems for Space Applications, with participants from ESA, NASA, the French and German space agencies CNES and DLR, the Italian space agency ASI, the Japanese agency JAXA and many industrial firms and research institutes worldwide.

The high level of international participation highlights the growing need for cost and efficiency benefits through resource sharing in space operations.

ESA supports international cooperation

In addition to a wide range of technology, engineering and associated data handling topics, the conference will also address issues related to inter-agency cross-services and the technical developments needed to allow different national and agency operators to share tracking and telecommand resources, such as ground stations.

G. Winters for ESA and W.H. Gerstenmaier for NASA signing agreement in Washinton, DC, 21 March 2007

ESA strongly endorses international cooperation in this area.

In March 2007, the Agency signed a comprehensive agreement with NASA covering network and operations cross-support; the agreement covers the ongoing provision to each other of services including tracking, navigation and systems sharing.

The bi-directional sharing of TT&C services is expected to enhance effectiveness and reduce risk for both agencies.

TT&C conference to identify key technologies & trends

"The conference is a forum where TT&C equipment designers, system developers, suppliers, operators, experts, universities and space agencies can discuss ideas, share experiences and formulate questions on key topics. The workshop will also help identify trends in standardization, cooperation and the technologies to be considered in the coming years," says Daniel De Pablo, conference manager and Head of the Technical Support Office in ESOC's Ground Station Systems Division.


4th ESA International Workshop on Tracking, Telemetry and Command Systems for Space Applications, 11-14 September 2007

For more information, registration and the full agenda, access the ESA Congrex site.

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