CryoSat-2 ground segment

Kiruna, Sweden
ESA station in Kiruna, Sweden

The CryoSat-2 ground segment is organised around a single ESA ground station, located in Kiruna-Salmijarvi, in Northern Sweden. This is where contact will be established with the satellite, for about 10 minutes 11 times per day, during which commands will be sent to the satellite and data downloaded.

Mission planning, however, is performed in ESA-ESRIN for what concerned the payload part (mainly the instrument activity planning) and in ESA-ESOC for what concernes the platform part (mainly orbit maintenance through manoeuvres). The detail plan will be uploaded weekly to the satellite from Kiruna-Salmijarvi.

It is worth noting that the CryoSat-2 instrument activity will be very repetitive, and is based on ground topology (ice boundaries evolving through the year) and a few specific user demands, recorded before launch and will not be subject to regular changes after launch.

CryoSat-2 instrument activity

The large amount of data received from the payload, and in particular from the altimeter, is to be processed at Kiruna-Salmijarvi. Data products at Level-1b (radar echoes geo-located and corrected for instrument features) and Level-2 (ground elevation and ice freeboard, corrected for atmospheric and geo-physical effects) are produced by ESA systematically, based on the repetitive data acquisition planned above. There is no 'on-demand' data processing in the routine data production; however, provision is made for troubleshooting needs.

All external auxiliary data needed for the data processing, and in particular the Precise Orbit data is to be received from the SSALTO centre operated by CNES in Toulouse, with one exception - dynamic sea-ice concentration is to be received from UCL in London.

Data will be routinely distributed to users using physical media (CDs, DVDs) and via the internet. Use of high-speed networks are also used to the maximum extent feasible, subject to network performance.

An important aspect of the CryoSat-2 ground segment is that it is designed for operations with a low level of manpower. Furthermore, remote operations and troubleshooting can be performed on all systems located in Kiruna-Salmijarvi.

CryoSat ground segment
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