Satellites have only limited capabilities to store recorded data on-board. In general, they have to be in direct contact with a ground station to download their data in real-time. DFD has built up a multimission payload ground segment which includes receiving facilities in Neustrelitz, Oberpfaffenhofen and the Antarctic, as well as an international network of mobile stations. In many cases, data reception is performed in cooperation with science partners on behalf of commercial customers.DFD is the national acquisition center for earth observation satellite data. Reception and archiving is carried out both for scientific applications and on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA) and commercial satellite operators.DFD’s central receiving facility for high-rate data is installed at the Neustrelitz site. The X-band antennas receive data from the German radar-mission TerraSAR-X, the European radar satellites ERS and ENVISAT, and the Indian IRS-1C/1D and P3 missions. The portfolio is completed by data acquisition for the CHAMP, BIRD and GRACE missions, and the operation of a reference station for navigation and positioning for GPS and GLONASS.In Oberpfaffenhofen the moderate-rate antennas receive data from the meteorological satellites of the NOAA and Meteosat series and the MODIS instrument on board the U.S. satellites TERRA and AQUA.The data coverage at both sites comprises all of Europe, the Near East and northern Africa. On behalf of commercial partners DFD routinely operates receiving facilities for the high-resolution optical satellites IKONOS and WorldView-2.
In addition, DFD has installed a global network of stationary and mobile stations, offering the opportunity to receive data of different resolutions from a multitude of optical and radar satellites. Data acquisition can be either systematic or on special request, depending on customer requirements. At present the receiving sites record data from the following missions: