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The large 15-m tracking antenna at ESA's ground station in Kiruna, Sweden.
The Kiruna satellite tracking and control station, part of ESA's ESTRACK network of tracking stations, is actually located in Salmijärvi, some 38 km east of Kiruna. It primarily supports operations of ESA's remote sensing satellites in Sun-synchronous orbit: ERS-1, ERS-2 and Envisat. It is equipped for tracking, telemetry and command (TT&C) operations as well as for reception, recording, processing and dissemination of data from the sensor instruments on-board these satellites. The station operates in S-band for uplink and downlink and in X-band for downlink only.
The station comprises a Telemetry Tracking Command and Data Acquisition Facility (TTCDAF) and a Data Processing and Product Distribution Facility (PRODIS). In addition to the normal TT&C functions of a ground station the TTCDAF includes a Reference Measurement System (RMS) for routine measurements of S-band and X-band satellite signals from the ERS satellites. The existing 15-m antenna was refurbished and the X-band receiving chains were upgraded for the Envisat mission.
For Envisat, the station is connected to the Flight Operations Control Centre (FOCC) at ESOC, in Darmstadt, Germany, via dedicated voice and data circuits. The Kiruna station is the primary TT&C site for the mission with Villafranca, Spain, as a backup. Operation schedules are uploaded to the spacecraft on a daily basis via Kiruna. In addition, a Payload Data Handling Station (PDHS) and a Low Rate Reference Archive Center (LRAC) have been set up to process and deliver near real time data to users. Another PDHS has been set up in Fucino, Italy.