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Ground station engineering teams at ESA are particularly excited by a new initiative aimed at redeveloping part of Goonhilly Earth Station, an existing commercial ground tracking station located in Cornwall, UK, to enable it to provide Europe’s first deep-space tracking services on a commercial basis.
Under the project, the station’s GHY-6 antenna, above, built in 1985 and featuring a 32 m-diameter dish, will be upgraded under ESA technical oversight to provide high bit-rate data links for missions that travel far from Earth – typically exceeding 2 million km distance.
These include not only missions to our somewhat closer Moon, but also to the more distant and scientifically important Sun-Earth Lagrange points, to asteroids and to planetary destinations like Mars.