Aurecon plays key role in historic ESA space-tracking project

Rosetta satellite

Image courtesy of Mother Nature Network

10 December 2014 - On 6 August 2014, Rosetta became the first mission in history to rendezvous with a comet, escort it as it orbits the sun and deploy a lander to its surface.

Aurecon is proud to have been involved in the development of a high-precision telemetry, tracking and command antenna system commissioned by the European Space Agency (ESA), which played a key role in making this historic landing possible.

Aurecon was engaged as the design engineer for the concrete base structure, two equipment buildings and associated civil works. Aurecon's role also included all investigations, design and documentation, specifications, quality inspections and other support services during the construction of the facilities.

The antenna weighs over 600 tonnes and is 35 metres in diameter, making it one of the largest deep space tracking instruments in the world. Due to the extreme sensitivity and accuracy of the antenna, the tower and its foundation had to be designed to meet stringent performance criteria specified by ESA to ensure stability and accuracy under all operational conditions.

Aurecon developed a unique solution for the foundations, which allowed for simple and efficient redistribution of stiffness and strength in the structure.

The new system provides daily routine operations support to ESA's on-going deep space missions, including the notorious Rosetta, Mars Express, Venus Express and other missions.

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