“Creating a ground infrastructure for future Space S&T missions is a key milestone in the continued rapid growth in our Space programme”
The UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is getting ready to operate its first satellite ground station.
The ground station will be based in Portsdown West, Hampshire, and once staff plus technical personnel are fully trained, it is expected to begin controlling satellites in low-orbits by the end of 2019.
The ground station is one factor in the UK’s growing interest in controlling its assets in space and conducting in-orbit research from UK soil.
For any organisation operating with a satellite as part of its infrastructure keeping in touch with it can be a significant cost. In order to communicate with a satellite antennas need to be established and maintained at key locations. If the satellite is stationed in a low-earth orbit and the company only has one functioning antenna on earth, it then has to wait for that satellite to fly overhead so data can be transmitted back or new commands can be issued.
To get around this organisation operating low-earth orbit satellites build multiple antennas in key positions around the globe, done at a significant cost. The DSTL ground station will provide the UK with the means to control and communicate with satellites in in space.
Dstl Chief Executive, Gary Aitkenhead, commented in a release: “Dstl is building world-class expertise in developing systems for the space environment. Creating a ground infrastructure for future Space S&T missions is a key milestone in the continued rapid growth in our Space programme, supporting both Dstl, our colleagues across the MOD, and our other national and international partners.”
AWS Satellite Ground Station
The private sector is also in the process of building space communication infrastructure. One company moving forward with plans is Amazon who wants to manage and store your satellite communications with AWS Ground Station, an on demand satellite communication network.
With AWS Ground Station businesses can pay for antenna access as demand requires. All of AWS ground stations are situated near AWS regions across the globe allowing for a low-latency transfer of the data to their servers and cloud infrastructure, only if you are an AWS customer of course.
Operated in AWS, Amazon’s Ground Station is controlled by the user via a graphical interface in which they can schedule antenna time and set up satellite communications. If the organisation using AWS Ground Station is also an existing AWS client, they can transfer the incoming data to an AWS data centre, where they can run machine learning algorithms and models on the data.
AWS is aiming the service at an array of business sectors from retail to large logistical companies. Companies heavily invested in transportation logistics can use satellites to better predicate weather patterns in localised areas. They can track the movement of ships, trucks and planes using satellite imaging systems, giving them greater control and insight into the day to day operation of the business.