With a wide range of low-cost components for CubeSats and Ground Stations available off-the shelf, space is becoming more accessible to new players all over the world, inspiring new applications and new approaches to mission operations.
One of the many remaining challenges facing the mission designer is the limited opportunity for line-ofsight communications with the ground. The volume and timeliness of the payload data return is limited by the geometry of the low earth orbit and location of ground station(s). This is known as the “downlink bottleneck”:
Data return = bandwidth x contact time
The Ground Station Network addresses this by facilitating the sharing of cooperating ground stations among multiple missions, to extend the total contact time. Telespazio UK has developed a new software solution to implement such a network. It is based on a simple booking system that enables ground stations to offer their services to more missions, and for those missions to take advantage of the extended contact times available. The scalable, web-based architecture provides a robust and extensible platform for an orchestrated network with optimized, automated operations.