A GROUND station in Unst designed to support satellites is set to assist a launch in Florida later today (Thursday).
SaxaVord Spaceport’s station at Baltasound Airport will provide launch and early operation support for Gossamer Piccolomini, which will be on board a Falcon 9 rocket for the SpaceX Transporter 3 rideshare mission taking off from Cape Canaveral.
The ground station became operational last summer after a 3.7 metre parabolic disk antenna was installed within a radome at the former oil industry airport.
Ground station network manager Jacques Meheut said the spaceport has signed a contract with Lunasonde, which has created and developed a revolutionary low-frequency radar system using pioneering subsurface imaging for detecting and monitoring exploitable resources.
When Gossamer Piccolomini has reached its low earth orbit, the ground station will continue to support it by downlinking satellite data and new mission updates.
“Last year was a busy year, with the installation of the first ground station supporting space-related activities in Shetland amid the challenges posed by Covid restrictions.
“And we kick off 2022 as we mean to go forward, with the Lunasonde contract a tremendous achievement for the team here.”
Chief executive of Lunasonde Jeremiah Pate added that the SaxaVord ground station is invaluable to collecting first data from orbit for the company.
The launch of the SpaceX Transporter 3 Mission is currently scheduled for 3pm UK time today, Thursday. A live feed will be made available via this link.
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