UK’s GES Acquires Artemis Orion Signals16th Nov 2022
Goonhilly Earth Station (GES) in Cornwall announced on 16th November that it was receiving the Orion spacecraft’s tracking signal. GES posted a tweet about acquiring the signal. Importantly, for RF aficionados everywhere, they also published a video display of the 2.2GHz carrier being received.
ESA contract for GES
In an interview with Orbital Today, GES Chief Technical Officer Matt Cosby explained that the European Space Agency (ESA) contracted the company to provide a variety of radio signal services. Acquiring the tracking signal is one of them that uses the site’s famed 32-meter dish. GES is the only Earth station rated for deep space signal acquisition.
GES will also provide other services, including communications with commercial satellites launched by Artemis on their way to lunar orbit. Cosby told Orbital Today that for the initial launch scheduled in September, GEX had been tapped for work starting from the second day. For the October launch attempt, the company was contracted to begin working just hours after the launch.
Goonhilly will also be providing ranging services for the Artemis mission.
Artemis, Orion, and the return to the Moon
The Artemis I launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida marks the third attempt to launch the SLS. The Orion spacecraft will circle the Moon, though subsequent Orion craft will carry humans to the Lunar surface.
The third attempt was almost thwarted by a loose connection that required tightening under hazardous conditions. With the rocket nearly completely fueled, a team went in to tighten the connection, thus preventing the launch from being scrubbed yet again.