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BAE Systems technology to track and control space missions at Goonhilly Earth Station

BAE Systems technology to track and control future space missions at Goonhilly Earth Station
BAE Systems and Goonhilly Earth Station (GES) have entered into a partnership to commercialise deep space communications.
BAE Systems has today signed a memorandum of understanding to supply two Tracking, Telemetry and Command Processor (TTCP) systems to GES at Farnborough International Airshow.
 
This technology will allow GES to track and communicate with a wide range of spacecraft including future manned and robotic missions to the Moon and Mars. The partnership will involve close working on the current deep space programme with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the development of a global network in the next four years.
 
The TTCP provides uplink and downlink services to support the spacecraft. The uplink transmits commands that control the spacecraft and the downlink receives data including critical spacecraft health information, images, video and other scientific and engineering information.
 

Key features of the TTCP equipment include:

  • A fully digital and flexible Software Defined Radio (SDR) able to support data rates from 1 bit per second to 300 megabits per second from multiple spacecraft simultaneously, with 50 times the processing power of current technology.
  • Tracking functions able to determine the spacecraft distance to around 10 cm at ranges of billions of km.
  • Doppler measurement functions able to determine the spacecraft’s velocity away from or towards the ground station to an accuracy of around 0.01 mm/s for speed in excess of 50 km/s.
  • Flexible, high bandwidth digital receiver that enables networking with other ground stations to increase the performance of signal reception. The unprocessed received data can also be sent to other stations for further complex analysis. 
  • Proven in service at ESA Deep Space Ground stations and currently used to support ESA missions such as Gaia, Lisa Pathfinder and Exomars, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) missions such as Dawn.
 
Goonhilly is set to become the world’s first privately-owned member of the Deep Space Network under a new contract recently announced by ESA and Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (CIoSLEP). Under the contract, Goonhilly Earth Station Ltd will upgrade its largest antenna to meet the exacting requirements for deep space communications, making use of the TTCP technology to achieve these challenging objectives.
 
Nick James, BAE Systems lead engineer for the project, said: “BAE Systems has developed a highly precise space communications and tracking system designed to support spacecraft operating both near the Earth and in deep space. The technology receives and converts faint radio signals from spacecraft into data that mission controllers use to monitor and control the spacecraft.
 
“The highly flexible system is able to handle differing ESA and NASA requirements and protocols, which makes it an ideal choice to support Goonhilly in future space missions.”
 
Ian Jones, Goonhilly CEO, said: “We have a great deal of interest in using Goonhilly’s upgraded antenna from our international customer base, including space agencies and some of the new private space exploration companies. This system will ensure that we can support missions for a number of space agencies.”
 
This represents the first time TTCP has been purchased by a private company and is also now operational in the ESA Deep Space Network.
 
ENDS 
 
For associated materials please visit: https://resources.baesystems.com/?c=39601&k=49a16c989c  
 
For further information, please contact:
 
Philippa Mason, BAE Systems
M: +44 (0) 7384 249518
E: philippa.mason@baesystems.com
 

Goonhilly Earth Station Infographic

BAE Systems technology to track and control space missions at GoonHilly Earth Station - Download Infographic

About BAE Systems
BAE Systems provides some of the world’s most advanced technology defence, aerospace and security solutions. We employ a skilled workforce of 82,500 people in over 40 countries. Working with customers and local partners, our products and services deliver military capability, protect people and national security, and keep critical information and infrastructure secure.
 
To maintain the advantage in this fast moving environment, there is a need to innovate and exploit emerging science and technology. Applied Intelligence Laboratories (AI Labs) is the research and technology arm of the BAE Systems’ Applied Intelligence business.
 
We provide research and development, consultancy, specialist manufacturing and technical services for BAE Systems businesses, government departments and commercial entities. Additionally, our expertise helps the UK Ministry of Defence, US Department of Defence, European Defence Agency, European Space Agency, UK Sport, universities and other leading innovative organisations to achieve their goals.
 
About Goonhilly Earth Station Ltd
Goonhilly Earth Station Ltd (GES) acquired the world-famous Goonhilly Satellite Station in 2014. It is an independent, privately-owned SME providing a complete range of satellite communications services and growing an ever wider range of space and data related services.
 
In December 2015 it was announced that Goonhilly is to become an Enterprise Zone as part of the expanded Newquay Airport Aerohub Enterprise Zone.  Goonhilly also hosts the Sat Apps Catapult South West Regional Centre of Excellence.
 
The Goonhilly infrastructure including 24/7 operations, diverse power, 200 GBit/s diverse tier-1 Internet connectivity and a wide range of antennas makes it an ideal satellite TV partner.
 
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Ref no: 092/2018
 
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