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Cebreros station
Enabling & Support

Cebreros - DSA 2

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ESA / Enabling & Support / Operations / ESA Ground Stations

The Cebreros station, DSA 2 (Deep Space Antenna 2), is located 77 kms west of Madrid, Spain. It hosts a 35-metre antenna with transmission and reception in X-band and reception in Ka-band. It provides routine support to deep-space missions including Mars Express, Gaia and Rosetta.


The ground station is situated about 12 kms south of Cebreros; Cebreros is situated in the province of Avila.

Facilities & technology

Cebreros' technical facilities comprise X-band transmission and X- and Ka-Band reception, plus facilities for tracking, telemetry, telecommand and radiometric measurements (ranging, Doppler, meteo).

Cebreros Antenna - Terminal MER remote control console
Cebreros Antenna - Terminal MER remote control console

The station has a frequency and timing system, a monitoring and control system and communications are enabled via the ESA Operations Network (OPSNET). The site is equipped with a no-break power plant.

The antenna's radio frequency (RF) system comprises a Cassegrain Beam Wave Guide system operating with frequency-sensitive (dichroic) mirrors and X- and Ka-band feeds, helium cooled X- and Ka-band low-noise amplifiers, a 400-Watt solid-state power amplifier, and 2- and 20-kilowatt X-band transmitters.


Cebreros provides routine operations support to ESA deep-space missions, as well as other agencies' missions under resource-sharing agreements.

Cebreros Antenna - Lifting main parabolic reflector
Cebreros Antenna - Lifting main parabolic reflector

Construction on the Cebreros station started in early 2004 and the station was formally inaugurated in September 2005. The first X-band signal was received from Venus Express on 10 November 2005, marking the start of operations.

The antenna dish is 35 metres in diameter and the entire structure is 40 metres high and weighs about 620 tonnes. Engineers can point the antenna with a speed of 1 degree per second in both axes. Cebreros' servo control system assures the highest possible pointing accuracy under the site's environmental, wind and temperature conditions.

For routine operations, Cebreros is controlled from ESOC. On-site management and maintenance is provided by INSA - Ingenieria y Servicios Aerospaciales S.A.

The Cebreros antenna incorporates state-of-the-art technology and the site was chosen for ESA's second deep-space antenna for several reasons. Since this antenna must be positioned 120 degrees East or West of our first deep-space antenna, DSA 1, in Australia, an ideal location would have been ESA's European Centre for Space Astronomy, located in Villafranca, near Madrid. However, active urban development in the ESAC surroundings could have caused interference.

The Cebreros location, which formerly hosted a NASA tracking station, is equally good and is distant from densely populated areas.

There are plans to upgrade the station in the future to enable data transmission in the Ka-band (32 GHz), which will become the future international standard for deep-space missions.

Cebreros will also support future ESA deep-space missions, which could include ExoMars, Lisa-Pathfinder and BepiColombo.

Delta DOR, GPS-TDAF, radio science

The station is also equipped with Delta DOR (Delta Differential One-Way Ranging) capability, a new technology enabling highly precise spacecraft location and tracking.

A GPS-TDAF (GPS Tracking and Data Analysis Facility) dual-frequency receiver system with geodetic accuracy is installed on the site, which delivers continuous measurements to the ESOC Navigation Facility.

The station also hosts facilities enabling scientists to analyse received signals to perform radio science experiments.

Access & contact

The ESOC point of contact is:
Head of Ground Facilities Operations Div. (OPS-ON)
ESOC, Darmstadt
Tel: +49 6151 90 0

Local site contact is:
Lionel Hernandez, Cebreros Station Manager
lionel.hernandez [@]
Tel: +34 91 896 38 45

Mailing address:
Agencia Europea del Espacio / European Space agency (ESA)
Cebreros Satellite Tracking Station
Carretera AV-562, Km 10
E-05260 CEBREROS (Avila)
Tel: +34 91 896 38 00
Fax: +34 91 896 38 13

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