The Ground Station Raisting
It is planned to use a huge 25 m dish located in Raisting, about 40 km outside Munich, for communication with satellites. This station was one of the first telecommunication satellite stations in Europe and now is declared a historic landmark. Comprehensive information about the antenna can be found here and here (German only). In late September 2010, the radome housing of the antenna was renewed. Time-lapse videos of this undertaking may be found here.
Despite being a historical monument, the antenna is still in good shape. However, in order to be used in an ambitious project like ESMO, certain improvements have to be done.
RF equipment. The core of each ground station is its radio frequency equipment for both the up- and downlink. Most of the communication satellites use frequencies within the S-band (uplink 2025–2110 MHz; downlink 2200–2290 MHz). As the antenna used to be equiped for C-band, the RF hardware currently is subject to lots of work going on in our team.
Tracking Control Hardware. The ongoing works include the establishment of an interface to the existing control circuits (have a look at an experimental prototype) in order to control the antenna remotely. Triplets of time, position and velocity values describing the satellite trajectory have to be provided by software prior to each satellite fly-over and then have to be handed over to the antenna control units.
Tracking Control Software. The position and the velocity of the satellite as a function of time are calculated in a PC software that currently is in the final stages of development. The software calculates the satellite’s position and velocity vectors in small time intervals prior to each satellite pass. These values are then transmitted to an external micro-controller board that handles the axes control independently from the PC in reliable real time.
Protection of historical heritage. As the antenna and its radome housing have been declared a historical landmark of national importance, the ongoing works also have a strong aspect of heritage conservation: By giving the antenna a new purpose, the antenna is also filled with new life. Additionally, an exhibition dedicated to satellite communications is planned to be established in the radome.