New opportunities for Earth Observation have the potential to affect many aspects of our lives, with applications ranging from weather monitoring to disaster control, space research, oil & gas exploration and defense intelligence.
As the need for instant access to up-to-date data and images from small satellites has increased, so has the requirement for a fast and reliable communication link between orbiting satellites and ground stations.
In 2015, Spaceflight wanted to expand its ground station network, which is dedicated to cost-effective spacecraft communications and operations for small-satellite customers, to New Zealand.
One of the most challenging tasks was to enable Spaceflight engineers at their US control station to remotely control the Gaia-100 ground station, located in New Zealand. The site in New Zealand is quite a distance from the Spaceflight headquarters as well as from ORBIT facilities where the ground station was assembled.
Each of the company’s ground stations are sighted to minimize communications latency and data throughput while offering the most comprehensive global coverage.
The company was looking for a reliable earth observation ground station solution, the Gaia-100 3.7m (12.1 feet) system suited their requirement perfectly.
The Gaia-100 series is a high-performance ground station solution for tracking and communication with Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites for Earth Observation (EO) and remote sensing applications.
The Gaia-100 offers a small footprint and the radome coverage provides an environmentally shielded system, performing in X- & S- frequency bands and implements a 3–axis design, which eliminates the key-hole phenomenon.
Based on proven technology and an affordable system, the Gaia 100 offers an excellent price performance. These were the main features that Spaceflight was looking for when selecting the Gaia-100/3.7 as their ground station.
Gaia is designed to withstand extreme weather conditions and to handle a broad range of challenging applications. ORBIT’s unique Advanced Control Loop™ algorithm guarantees unsurpassed accuracy, and enables Gaia ground stations to meet the most rigorous accuracy standards.
The prediction algorithm embedded into the control loop mechanism guarantees high pointing accuracy and maximum G/T over the tracking period without degradation of gain performance.
Delivery & Installation
ORBIT delivered this standard system to Spaceflight as scheduled in early August of 2015. Upon delivery, teams from ORBIT and Spaceflight collaborated to install, test and deploy the system. After the installation and testing process, which required only a ew days, the system was approved for operation.
The Customer’s Point Of View
According to Jason Andrews, the Chief Executive Officer of Spaceflight, the ORBIT ground station solutions have been critical to expanding the capability of the Spaceflight network of ground stations, enabling reliable communications between satellites and ground users, which furthers the company’s vision to add more capacity across more continents to satisfy more customer demand.
All article photographs were taken by Or Dadush, System Engineer at ORBIT.
ORBIT is able to offer tailored solutions and highly responsive service to customers with different cultural and technical requirements. The company develops, integrates and installs end-to-end turnkey communication solutions and services for air, sea, land and space applications. Based on a customer-centric approach, ORBIT offers integrated turnkey solutions for defense, government and commercial organizations.
Spaceflight, a next-generation, integrated space services company, is revolutionizing the business of spaceflight by delivering a new customer-centric model for accessing space. A full service launch provider, the company provides a straightforward, cost-effective, and comprehensive suite of products and services including state-of-the-art satellite infrastructure, rideshare capabilities, and global communications networks that enable commercial and government entities to achieve their mission goals.
Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, Spaceflight provides its services through a global network of partners, ground stations and launch vehicle providers.