National Ground Segment Department

German Remote Sensing Data Center, Neustrelitz

The acquisition, processing and archiving of payload data from remote sensing and small-satellite science missions is handled by DFD’s National Ground Segment department in Neustrelitz. This work is undertaken as part of the German space program, commissioned by ESA or industry, or carried out in cooperation with international space agencies. In addition, the ground segment supports the German Space Operations Center by providing satellite command services, and it functions as a backup station for selected missions. Other responsibilities include the near-real-time processing of acquired data, which includes generating and distributing thematic information products, and operating the Calibration and Validation Test Site DEMMIN.
The Neustrelitz ground segment department employs engineers, physicists, mathematicians and technicians, most of whom are engaged in research and development. During more than 45 years of ground station operations the range of activity could be continuously expanded and further developed. Work focuses on the following areas:

  • A permanent acquisition station for small earth observation and science satellites
  • Automated round-the-clock operation of mission processing and archiving centres, (PAC), including near-real-time processing and data distribution
  • Development of hardware components and software tools for acquiring, processing and archiving satellite data

Mastery of the entire chain from data acquisition to processing and final distribution makes high quality, homogenised data sets, free of systems artefacts and with high information content, quickly available to users through streamlined access procedures. User consultations and training play a large role. The National Ground Segment Department currently participates in over 10 national and international missions, including functioning as an ESA Earthnet receiving station for European earth observations missions, and it cooperates closely with a multitude of science and commercial partners and public authorities. Close cooperation among various DLR institutes and locations is also cultivated. For example, together with the Institute of Communication and Navigation in Neustrelitz the National Ground Segment operates the space weather service SWACI and works with the Neustrelitz Maritime Safety and Security Lab to facilitate safe maritime traffic and to protect the oceans. Also in the area of maritime safety there is close cooperation with the Remote Sensing Technology Institute team at the Bremen Maritime Safety and Security Lab.

Core expertise

  • Designing and configuring components and processing chains for data reception
  • Developing station software for monitoring and controlling tasks
  • Designing and implementing test and simulation systems
  • Planning and assembling real-time processing systems
  • Constant operation of a real-time data centre in a multi-mission scenario 365 days/year, 24 hours/day
  • Validation campaigns for terrestrial and maritime applications
  • Management of earth observation data and long-term data archiving in the German Satellite Data Archive, a distributed system located at DFD in Oberpfaffenhofen and Neustrelitz
  • DEMMIN Calibration and Validation Facility

The department is divided into the following working groups: