SARAS – a Spanish acronym for ‘Fast Acquisition of Satellites and Launchers’ – enables ground stations to acquire signals from new satellites faster and more accurately than ever before. A circular array of eight small radio-frequency sensors are mounted around the rim of an existing dish antenna. It was fitted to the 15 m-diameter dish at ESA’s ESAC Establishment, seen here during upgrade work, in 2013.
Since then, it has been extensively tested, receiving signals from missions including CryoSat, XMM, and Swarm. It also helps the station to acquire signals from multisatellite missions, such as the three-craft Swarm.