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satellite download

27 July 2017

It is the last working day for Carsten Falck (left) and Stefan Weisheit (right) in their satellite download station. This is the moment for a short visit.
The German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ-Potsdam) operates a satellite receiving station at Ny-Ålesund to receive data from research satellites in polar orbits (e.g., CHAMP, GRACE, Terrasar-X, Tandem-X, SAC-C). Satellites in polar orbits can be received in Germany not more often than 3 to 4 times per day (due to the rotation of the Earth). The same satellites appear over Ny-Ă…lesund about 15 times per day, allowing data reception from these satellites approximately 95 minutes after onboard measurement. The fast availability of the data is the precondition for applications with tight time constraints. An example is the data of satellite-measured GNSS atmosphere sounding instruments (innovative method to determine atmospheric temperature and water vapor profiles), which is used to improve weather forecasting and climate research. The high number of contacts to the satellites also supports a better health monitoring of the satellite systems so that onboard technical problems may be detected early. The receiving antennas are located outside the village, between the local airport and the Kings Bay. The station is a state of the art, multi mission follow-up (replacement) of the CHAMP-receiving antenna (installed in 2001).

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