Roscosmos and ESA speak same language

In November and December 2020, specialists from the Roscosmos State Corporation, TsNIIMash (part of Roscosmos), the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Special Design Bureau of the Moscow Power Engineering Institute successfully conducted a series of technical experiments to receive information simultaneously from two spacecraft in orbit around Mars: Trace Gas Orbiter (mission ExoMars-2016) and Mars Express. The reception was carried out with the help of a 64-meter antenna of the long-range space communication system of the OKB MEI near Kalyazin (Tver region). Thus, it was confirmed that the ground vehicles of Russia and Europe are compatible and can be used in case of emergency situations, as well as in the course of future joint projects, first of all, the ExoMars-2022 mission.

The experiment on receiving scientific information from Martian spacecraft is the next stage in the process of “technological demonstration” of the compatibility of ground-based facilities of Russia and the European Space Agency. Its first stage was experiments in April and May 2020, when the European antennas of the ESTRACK system in Argentina, Australia and Spain received scientific data from the Russian orbital observatory Spektr-RG. Scientific information was received in full with 100% quality and transferred to the Ground Control Complex of the Spectrum-RG project through the Russian Scientific Information Receiving Complex (RKPNI). It includes two distant space communication stations of OKB MEI in Medvezhye Ozyory and Kalyazin, equipped with 64-meter antennas.

The second stage of the “technological demonstration” is the reception of scientific information from European vehicles by Russian ground means. The RKPNI antennas routinely conduct communication sessions with the TGO orbiter of the ExoMars-2016 mission. During the experiment, at the same time, the antenna complex in Kalyazin was receiving data from Mars Express, which was launched on June 2, 2003 on a Soyuz-FG launch vehicle from the Baikonur cosmodrome and has been operating in orbit around Mars since the end of 2005.

“The experiment was successful, thereby confirming that our equipment meets the international standards adopted in the space industry,” says Vladimir Nazarov, head of the department of ground-based scientific complexes of the IKI RAS, “now we are sure that“ we speak the same language ”and, in case we can help each other if necessary. ”
“With this experiment, we have demonstrated the compatibility of our ground-based facilities for scientific space projects, which opens up additional opportunities for joint cooperation between ESA and Roscosmos in terms of mutual support of space projects using existing antenna systems,” said Daniel Firr of the Deep Space and Outer Space Group. links of the European Center for Space Operations.
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