The Kiruna S- and X-band station supports 18 satellites, including many of ESA's flagship missions such as Aeolus, CryoSat, Integral, the Swarm trio, the Sentinel series of Earth Observation spacecraft, Cluster and CHEOPS. The station will also support SEOSAT and Sentinel-6A through their crucial Launch and Early Orbit phase. For the Estrack network, Kiruna hosts one 15- and one 13-m antenna. Both operate in S-band for uplink and downlink and X-band for downlink. The station is located at Salmijärvi, 38 km east of Kiruna, in northern Sweden.
The station's location at a high-latitude position plays a primary role supporting ESA/EU low Earth orbiting satellites, as it provides visibility for 10 to 12 out of 14 daily orbits.
The coordinates of the KIR-1 antenna are +67° 51' 25.66", +20° 57' 51.57". The antenna is sited at 402.2 metres altitude with respect to the WGS-84 reference ellipsoid, a mathematically-defined reference surface that approximates the Earth's geoid surface. The coordinates of the KIR-2 antenna are 67.858428° North and 20.966880° East. The antenna is sited at 385.8 meters altitude with respect to the WGS-84 reference ellipsoid.
Facilities & technology
Kiruna hosts the following antennas:
- KIR-1: 15m-diameter dish antenna with reception and transmission in S-band, and reception in X-band. Autotrack and program track capability in S-band.
- KIR-2: 13m-diameter dish antenna with reception and transmission in S-band and reception in X-band. Autotrack and program track capability in both S- and X-band.
Both antennas provide facilities for tracking, telemetry, telecommand and radiometric measurements (ranging, Doppler, meteo) in S-band.
X-band reception is used for high-rate payload data for Earth observation and scientific missions. The station has a frequency and timing system, a monitoring and control system and full diversity communications are enabled via the ESA Operations Network (OPSNET).
The site is equipped with a no-break power plant providing electrical power to all mission critical equipment.
The station provides routine support for satellites in low-Earth orbits (LEO) in the routine phases, and specialised support during the Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP).
All routine operations of the Kiruna ground station are fully automated and controlled from the Estrack Control Centre at ESOC, Darmstadt. A local team is in charge of local station operations and maintenance.
GESS and GNSS
The station hosts a Galileo Experimental Sensor Station (GESS) receiver and a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receiver, which deliver continuous data to ESOC.
Access & contact
There are flights to Kiruna mainly from Stockholm. From Kiruna airport, a rental car or taxi is necessary.
From Kiruna, follow the E10 toward Luleå. From the airport, follow the signs for Kiruna/ Luleå for approximately one kilometre. At the first main junction, turn right on the E10 toward Luleå.
After approximately 6 kilometres from the airport road junction, turn left at the signs to ESRANGE and Jukkasjärvi. After approximately another 6 kilometres, turn left in the centre of Jukkasjärvi following the signs for ESRANGE and ESA Satellite Station. Continue for a further 18 kilometres. The ESA Kiruna ground station is located on the left side of the road. ESRANGE is approximately 7 kilometres further along the same road.
The ESOC point of contact is:
Head of Ground Facilities Operations Div
The postal address of the station is:
ESA Kiruna Station
PO Box 815
SE-981 28 Kiruna