Ground Station Network

In addition to the institute's ground station in Stuttgart, several other external stations are being used for satellite operations. Due to the almost polar (sun synchronous) orbit of the Flying Laptop, ground stations near the North or South Pole allow for the highest amout of contact time per day.

A direct connection has been established to the German Space Operations Center GSOC of the German Aerospace Center DLR. With this connection, it is possible to use different DLR ground stations for commanding the satellite and data reception in real time. This includes a station in Weilheim in Oberbayern, which belongs to the Institute of Space Operations and Astronaut Training as well as two stations close to the poles of the German Remote Sensing Data Center, namely GARS O'Higgins on the Antarctic Peninsula and Inuvik in northern Canada.

The DLR stations were used intensively during the first four days after launch in order to supervise the satellite as closely as possible during this critical phase. During nominal operations, the station in Weilheim can still be used nominally while the other DLR stations are only used in case of major emergencies.

During nominal operations, another ground station in Ny Ålesund on Svalbard, which belongs to the German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam, is also used. Through this station, telemetry data of the satellite system as well as payload data like images are downlinked from the satellite to earth twice a day. Thus, the station provides additional ground contact time to allow donwlinking a larger amount of data from the satellite offline.

As the payload data downlink is in the ham radio S-Band, interested ham radio amateurs possessing the necessary hardware can also receive these data.

 

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Image: The ground station network, Copyright University of Stuttgart

 

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Image: GARS O'Higgins, Copyright Kai Wendlandt

 

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Image: Ny Ålesund, Copyright GFZ Potsdam