ESA to build second deep space dish in Australia
by Staff Writers
Paris (ESA) May 04, 2021
On 29 April, ESA and the Australian Space Agency announced the construction of a second 35-metre, deep space antenna at ESA's New Norcia station, located 140 kilometres north of Perth in Western Australia.
The 620-tonne antenna will be a new model complementing the existing deep space antenna on the site, with novel functionality and support for additional communication frequencies.
It will feature the latest in deep space communication technology, including a super-cool 'antenna feed' that will be cryogenically cooled to around -263 C and increase data return by up to 40%.
The antenna will be so sensitive it can detect signals far weaker than the signal from a mobile phone - if there were one - on the surface of Mars.
Investing in Europe's future with Australia
The Agency's deep-space stations are supporting a growing number of increasingly sophisticated exploration probes like Gaia, BepiColombo, Solar Orbiter and, soon, the ExoMars rover, Euclid and JUICE, as well as upcoming space safety missions like Hera and the Sun-monitoring space weather mission.
"ESA's network is crucial infrastructure that helps enable cooperation and cross-support with missions flown by partners like NASA, JAXA and other agencies, and this boosts science return and efficiency for all involved," adds Director General Aschbacher.
"It's also part of the ESA infrastructure that can support new space and commercial actors, a key element of ESA's Agenda 2025 priorities."
ESA has budgeted euro 45 million for the new antenna, covering antenna procurement and construction as well as upgrades to station buildings and services. While the prime contractor will come from an ESA Member State, a significant portion of the budget will be spent in Australia with the involvement of a number of Australian companies.
ESA's ground station and antennas at New Norcia, Western Australia, are locally operated and by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Australian government agency responsible for scientific research. CSIRO similarly operates NASA's deep space antenna complex located at Tidbinbilla near Canberra.
"The new antenna is not only positive progress in the Agency and ESA's cooperative relationship, but also an important contributor to the local economy which will help grow Australia's civil space industry," says Head of the Australian Space Agency Enrico Palermo.
The new deep space antenna at the New Norcia site is a joint undertaking contributing to the long-term cooperation between ESA and Australia in the space domain. It enables significant economic, technology and scientific benefits for both partners, and will pave the way for further collaboration in areas such as space communication, space situational awareness and mission operations.
Rising demand for deep space communications
The number of deep space missions launched worldwide is rapidly increasing, and so is the need to upload commands and download status updates as well as valuable scientific data from these intrepid explorers.
ESA's large antennas communicate with spacecraft so far out in space - as far as 1.44 billion kilometres from Earth and even further in future - that they can only 'listen' to spacecraft in a relatively small area of the sky at any one time. If two spacecraft are in a very similar direction from Earth - both at Mars, for example - it is possible to use one antenna to communicate with them both at the same time.
But as space exploration continues to take us in new directions, there will be a greater need to maintain frequent communication with spacecraft located in widely different portions of the sky - such as Mars and Mercury. To keep these missions safe and get the most out of the data they collect, ESA needs more antennas.
Around the globe: ESA ground station network
The new antenna will be ESA's fourth deep space antenna and will join existing 35-metre antennas in New Norcia, Malargue (Argentina) and Cebreros (Spain).
Located in Western Australia, New Norcia provides a strategic geographical position allowing around-the-clock coverage of deep space missions, with a perfect complement to the sites in Argentina and Spain.
Building a second antenna on an existing site allows for cost-effective construction, maintenance and operation. Funding for the new antenna was confirmed at ESA's Space19+ ministerial council in 2019.
Studies to determine the exact location of the new antenna on the New Norcia site began at the end of 2019. Construction is due to be completed in 2024 with the antenna entering operation in the second half of that year - just in time to help out with the JUICE and Hera missions, among many others.
ThinKom antenna design offers flexible installation options for special-purpose aircraft
Hawthorne CA (SPX) Mar 18, 2021
ThinKom Solutions, Inc. has developed a new product variant of its VICTS aero satellite communication antennas enabling more flexible installation choices and allowing for smaller distributed and embedded phased-array applications. The new product variant, which targets government and military beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) satellite communication markets, integrates the VICTS antenna, antenna control unit (ACU) and power-supply (PS) electronics into a single low-profile small-footprint package. ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - 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. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. 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. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.