All contacts and data acquisitions at GARS O’Higgins from 1992 to 2013. These contacts include both reception of earth observation data and contacts to support TT&C (Telemetry, Tracking and Control) and LEOP (Launch and Early Orbit Phase) manoeuvres. The ERS-1/-2 contacts took place only for limited periods during campaigns in the Antarctic summer months.
GARS O’Higgins has been operated since 1991 as a satellite data receiving station. During the first years of operation it was used on a campaign basis during the Antarctic summer months. In a total of 28 campaigns, primarily in support of the ERS missions, 5000 data takes were recorded with over 99 % station availability. In 2010 the new TanDEM mission required a high number of satellite contacts year-round over the Antarctic, which led to the expansion of GARS O‘Higgins to provide continuous 24h/7d/365d operations. The graph at right shows the number of contacts with various satellites from 1991 to 2013. All contact types are included, both those involving reception of earth observation data and contacts in support of Telemetry, Tracking and Control (TT&C) and Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) satellite manoeuvres.
In 2012 and 2013 there were over 5000 successful contacts with the TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X satellites – also here with constant 98-99% station availability despite the higher data load. This consistently high and stable performance was achieved through almost complete automation of operations (using the in-house Station Monitoring and Control System - SMCS), redundancy, and especially the steadfast support of the local systems engineers.