The town of Cartago became the headquarters of station number 25 of the global satellite tracking network of the European Space Agency (ESA). Called GNSS Observation Network, or EGON, this connection is used to monitor the European agency’s satellite constellations and daily activities, such as orbit corrections or scientific research, explained Dr. Johan Carvajal Godinez, from the Space Systems Laboratory of the Tecnológico of Costa Rica (SETEC-Lab), who was in charge of leading the project.
“The ground stations provide the link between the ESA satellites in orbit and the operations control center on Earth. All stations provide multi-GNSS data and real-time transmission”, highlights the ESA on its website.
ESA sent the device components to the country and entrusted the specialists of the TEC School of Electronic Engineering to install and configure the equipment for its integration with the ESA European Space Operations Center (ESOC), in Germany.
In a press release, Carvajal indicated that the participation of the TEC as a partner of ESA in this project –by means of a cooperation agreement– demonstrates that the Institution’s incursion into the aerospace sector is becoming more and more serious and that the opportunities continue to multiply with international collaboration opportunities.
Giving relevance to the name of Costa Rica in the world of aerospace development
“At SETEC-Lab we always see it as a great opportunity, because it gives more relevance to the name of Costa Rica in the world of aerospace development and opens up more opportunities for TEC researchers and students,” said Carvajal.
EGON’s 25 stations are distributed all over the world. In America they are found in French Guiana (from where ESA makes its space launches), Argentina, Mexico and Brazil. The antenna in Cartago is the only one located in Central America, so it fulfills the objective of expanding the coverage of the EGON network to improve its precision.