Optical Ground Stations for PIXL-1

Optical Ground Stations for PIXL-1 © TESAT

Meanwhile, PIXL-1 has seen the light of day and has safely arrived at its designated position in a low Earth orbit. No later than now the question should arise where to send all the data and high resolution images PIXL-1 takes from our precious world. Luckily, this question is answered pretty easily: To a growing network of optical ground stations.

Initially, PIXL-1 will send its first data to a transportable optical ground station (TOGS) near Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. The advantage of this transportable OGS is that it can be, as the name may suggest, transported if the conditions at its current location aren’t perfect and go on a search for another, better exposed position.

Such a transportable station is a very good start for the beginning, but isn’t by far the end of the story. PIXL-1 will also be able to have access to the Optical Nucleus Network (ONN), which is optical ground station network built up by the European Space Agency (ESA). Contributors to the network will be, among others, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Norwegian satellite telecommunications company Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT) to provide an efficient and easy-access optical ground station network. The ground stations are located in Almeria (Spain), Tenerife (Canary Islands) and Nemea (Greece). The ONN will reach full bloom by 2023 and add several new ground stations worldwide to the list.

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