Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Military Space News .




MILITARY COMMUNICATIONS
Catching signals from a speeding satellite
by Staff Writers
Paris (ESA) Mar 13, 2014


SARAS - a Spanish acronym for 'Fast Acquisition of Satellites and Launchers' - is a circular array of eight small radio-frequency sensors mounted around the rim of an existing dish antenna. Image courtesy ESA/Isdefe.

Soaring high above Earth as they speed through space, satellites are difficult targets to track. Now a new approach developed in Europe is helping ground stations to acquire signals faster and more accurately than ever before.

During launch, a satellite is flung into orbit with tremendous force, attaining speeds of over 28 000 km/h - about 40 times faster than a commercial airliner.

A critical moment is when the satellite separates from its rocket and starts transmitting radio signals. A receiving station on the ground has to be ready and waiting, pointed at precisely the right spot in the sky to catch the transmission, which is a highly focused and narrow beam. And it's moving fast.

"Traditionally, even the best stations - like ESA's 15 m and 35 m-diameter dishes - are only sensitive across an arc of just a few degrees," says Magdalena Martinez de Mendijur, a systems engineer at ESA's Operations Centre in Germany.

"If the antenna is not pointed perfectly, or if the satellite zips by out of its 'field of view' before acquisition, the signal could be missed altogether."

A cutting-edge difference
That's where SARAS - a Spanish acronym for 'Fast Acquisition of Satellites and Launchers' - is making a cutting-edge difference.

The system mounts a circular array of eight small radio-frequency sensors around the rim of an existing dish antenna.

"The signals received by these eight are combined, and the system can estimate the direction of arrival of the incoming radio beam, and the entire dish can be repointed directly at the satellite with great precision and accuracy, even when the incoming signal is weak or distorted," says Magdalena.

It was fitted to the 15 m dish at ESA's Space Astronomy Centre in Spain in 2013. Since then, it has been extensively tested, catching signals from missions including CryoSat-2, XMM, GOCE and Swarm.

ESA partners with European industry
"This new approach more than doubles the size of the dish's window and we can acquire signals from a new satellite in less than 12 seconds," says Klaus Juergen Schulz, responsible for ground station engineering.

"A future version should improve this to just two seconds."

The technology was developed by Spanish company Isdefe, partly supported by ESA's General Support Technology Programme, which converts promising engineering concepts into mature products.

The system has been patented in Spain and is being patented in Europe, and will be developed into a full commercial product.

"This is an excellent example of how technology research supported through ESA funding and technical and managerial supervision can be developed by European industry into world-class products and services," says Juan Miro, Head of ESA's Ground Systems Engineering department.

.


Related Links
General Support Technology Programme (GSTP)
ISDEFE
ESTRACK
Read the latest in Military Space Communications Technology at SpaceWar.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





MILITARY COMMUNICATIONS
Raytheon receives contract modification on JPSS Common Ground System
Aurora CO (SPX) Mar 06 2014
Raytheon has received a $185 million modification from NASA on its current Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) Common Ground System (CGS) contract, which is intended to increase the capability and capacity of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) three satellites that support the JPSS mission through 2022. JPSS is a polar-orbiting environmental satellite system and a col ... read more


MILITARY COMMUNICATIONS
US to continue technology development against ballistic missile threat

Israel says long-range rockets aboard 'Iran arms ship'

Raytheon awarded contract for Patriot

Lockheed Martin Adapts Missile Defense Analytics for Early Sepsis Detection

MILITARY COMMUNICATIONS
N. Korean military defends missile tests

S. Korea calls North missile tests calculated provocation

South Korea buys more Phalanx missles from Raytheon

N.Korea test-fires four short-range missiles

MILITARY COMMUNICATIONS
Israel drone crashes in Gaza

US aviation agency to appeal drone ruling

For US forces in Africa, spy drones in short supply

Air Strato first take-off and landing

MILITARY COMMUNICATIONS
Catching signals from a speeding satellite

Raytheon receives contract modification on JPSS Common Ground System

ASC Signal Completes First Phase of Horizon Teleports Installation and Receives Additional Antenna Order

Soldier's Network Update: US Army Capability Set 14 to Include AN/PRC-155 Manpack Tactical Radios

MILITARY COMMUNICATIONS
DARPA Begins Early Transition of Adaptive Vehicle Make Technologies

China soldiers too big for outdated tanks: report

From gas to submarines, Great War was crucible for deadly innovation

Researcher: Nazis experimented with mosquitoes as weapons

MILITARY COMMUNICATIONS
China will not stop increasing military spending: media

Japan draws up overhaul of arms-export ban

US gun lobby sees media as enemy

Rolls-Royce says facing US corruption probe

MILITARY COMMUNICATIONS
Philippines lodges protest over ships 'blocked' by China

NATO says to deploy recon flights over Poland, Romania

Walker's World: Putin as carnivore

Russia floats own solution to Ukraine crisis

MILITARY COMMUNICATIONS
Chelyabinsk meteor to help develop nanotechnology

Optical nano-tweezers take over the control of nano-objects

NIST microanalysis technique makes the most of small nanoparticle samples

Experts warn against nanosilver




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.