CHALLENGES IN OPERATIONS AND MAINTENANCE OF ANTARCTICA GROUND STATION FOR EARTH OBSERVATION SATELLITES
Keywords: Data Reception system (DRS), Data Communication System (DCS), Payload (PLD), Telemetry and Tele-Command (TTC), Visible Orbits
Abstract. Remote sensing and Geographical Information System (GIS) through Earth Observation (EO) Satellites have become most important tools for many of the societal applications of day-to-day life, during the past few decades of the 21st century, and this need is rapidly increasing. Presently, EO payload (PLD) data from Polar Orbiting Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) Satellite Missions is received at the Integrated Multi-mission Ground segment for Earth Observation Satellites (IMGEOS) at NRSC, Hyderabad, India. But at this geographical location, only four out of fourteen orbits data can be acquired from each of the polar satellites. These polar satellite orbits converge at poles, hence establishing a ground station at Polar Regions has an advantage of acquiring data from ten to twelve orbits.
To increase the capability, a data reception Ground Station and Communication facility was established by ISRO at Bharati Station, Antarctica, located at 69° South and 76° East, in 2012–2013 (Austral Summer). This station is maintained for flawless operations and smooth flow of IRS Satellites EO data from Antarctica, by three Scientists/Engineers from ISRO, who overwinter at Antarctica, along with other Expedition members, by clearing the pre-requisites for an Antarctica Expedition. While this location is suitable to establish a Ground Station, the local conditions are a challenge to be faced (when established then, and now) to operate and maintain it 24 × 7 throughout the year.