Operating missions in deep space requires sophisticated tracking stations as well as engineering knowhow. A workshop hosted by ESA will highlight the latest developments in the craft of communicating with spacecraft orbiting in our Solar System, hundreds of millions of kilometres from Earth.
On 10–13 September 2013, the Agency will host the 6th ESA International Workshop on Tracking, Telemetry and Command Systems for Space Applications (TTC 2013). Participants will include experts from ESA, NASA, the French and German space agencies CNES and DLR, the Italian space agency ASI and the Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Indian space agencies, joined by numerous representatives from space agencies, industry and research institutes worldwide.
The workshop will highlight some of the latest developments at ESA and partner agencies in the area of spacecraft communication, particularly for deep space missions, which typically explore other planets in our Solar System.
New deep space station in Argentina
“In 2013, ESA will commission a new 35 m-diameter deep space station at Malargüe, Argentina, completing a trio of stations located so as to provide 360º coverage for all our missions,” says Klaus-Juergen Schulz, head of the stations engineering team at ESOC, ESA’ European Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, Germany.
“Our deep-space stations provide the increased range in radio communication technology and data transmission speed required for present and future exploration missions, such as Mars Express, Venus Express, Rosetta, Herschel, Planck, Gaia, BepiColombo, LISA, Solar Orbiter, Euclid and the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer.”
The three impressive deep-space stations, in New Norcia, Western Australia, Cebreros, Spain and now Malargüe, also provide facilities for radio science experiments, allowing scientists to study the characteristics of matter through which the spacecraft–ground communication signals travel.
ESA’s Estrack network provides support to partner agencies such as NASA and JAXA, who likewise make their tracking networks available to ESA missions, helping to increase coverage and boosting science data return for all.
TTC 2013 workshop
The TTC 2013 workshop will be held at ESOC and aims to provide an international forum for sharing research findings, best practices and innovations, especially in the most innovative areas such as optical communications.
“The highly successful triennial conference series is a forum where experts in tracking, telemetry and command can present new ideas, share experiences and discuss key topics,” says ESA’s Salvador Marti, workshop organiser.
“The workshop will also help to identify trends in standardisation, cooperation and new technologies. These are crucial for boosting effectiveness for all agencies and supporting missions of the future.”
The 6th ESA International Workshop on Tracking, Telemetry and Command Systems for Space Applications will be held 10-13 September 2013 at ESOC, Darmstadt, Germany.
For more information, registration and the full agenda, access the ESA Congrex site.