GENSO aims to increase the return from educational space missions by forming a worldwide network of ground stations and spacecraft which can interact via a software standard.
The ESA Education Office is setting up a Global Educational Network for Satellite Operations (GENSO). This will fundamentally change the way that these missions are managed, dramatically increasing the level of access to orbital educational spacecraft.
Educational space missions are often hampered by the relatively small communication windows offered by their typically low orbits and local ground stations. GENSO is a software standard which allows each ground station on the network to communicate with non-local spacecraft and share data with the spacecraft controllers via the internet. This will allow for a near global coverage in communication for every educational satellite launched, greatly increasing the return from educational space missions and the opportunities for sending commands to the spacecraft. The design and implementation work is being carried out by a distributed set of student and radio amateur teams worldwide and with over 80 educational spacecraft currently planned there is a very large demand for such a project.
GENSO aims to provide the following.
- Unparalleled near-global access to the mission operators of educational and radio amateur spacecraft.
- Remote access for operators to real-time mission data, even in cases when their local ground station is experiencing technical difficulties.
- Scheduling of remote uplink sessions via trusted ground stations.
- Optional automatic remote control of all participating ground stations.
- Downlink error-correction by comparing multiple data streams.
- Definition of an optional standard solution for educational ground-segment hardware, designed to optimise return from GENSO at minimal cost.
- Recommendations for future educational space hardware in order to enhance mission return utilising GENSO.
- Close collaboration with the amateur radio community to support a common interface for applying for frequency allocation and coordination.
GENSO is expected to attract a large number of like-minded people and projects. This community will be a valuable resource, not only for increased access to spacecraft, but also for advice, technical support for ground and space hardware, object identification on busy launches, assistance during critical mission operations, and many other possibilities.