Ibadan, 31 July, 2023. – The European Space Agency’s Galileo Project has launched its new Telemetry, Tracking, and Control (TT&C) facility, featuring a 13.5-meter diameter parabola dish on top of a 10-meter-high steel and concrete building structure. Known as the acronym TTCF-7, the facility is within the premises of Europe’s launch site in Kourou, French Guiana, beside its older sibling TTCF-2.
With 28 satellites flying in orbit, Galileo has grown to become Europe’s single biggest public satellite constellation, and it continues to grow with ten more satellites on the ground, ready to launch into space. Furthermore, each Galileo satellite requires regular ground contacts to gather its housekeeping telemetry and receive new telecommands to continue its mission. TT&C antenna designs are exactly for that purpose and are therefore an indispensable element of every satellite ground infrastructure.
This latest antenna will play an important role during the upcoming modernization activities of the earlier TT&C antennas in the station network, which have been in service for several years. As a result, TTCF-7 will take over their tasks during the maintenance activities when they need finally go offline. These Galileo antennas are also crewless and operate fully automated from the two Galileo Control Centres (GCCs). The GCCs are also several thousand kilometers away in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, and Fucino, Italy.
ESA Technical Officer Bobby Nejad commented, “A big part of the challenge came from its location; we needed to get it working flawlessly in a hot and humid environment beside the Amazon rainforest before handing it over to its operator. Its entry into service was popular, providing sufficient spare capacity to modernize the rest of the ground segment and keep up with the needs of the Galileo constellation in space as it continues to grow.