13/10/2021 1330 views 50 likes
An upgrade to ESA’s three 35-metre deep-space antennas will boost science data return by 40% by cooling the ‘antenna feed’ to just 10 degrees above the lowest temperature possible in the Universe.
Why is this important?
ESA ground stations are essential for solving some of the most difficult scientific questions. These ground stations are used to transmit instructions to spacecraft throughout the Solar System, and to receive data via a downlink’.
The stations’ downlink capacity has been in high demand. The Agency plans to launch new spacecraft into the Solar System, and will support missions by a growing number of space agencies.
What upgrades are available?
To increase downlink capacity you need to either build new antennas or improve the performance. ESA does both.
While a new and sorely needed deep space antenna is being built in Australia, it’s important – and economical – to squeeze as much performance out of pre-existing dishes as we can. A series of upgrades across ESA’s network of ground stations is doing just that:
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