In December 2017, C-CORE completed installation and commissioning of a satellite ground station for downlinking data from a new generation of Earth observation (EO) satellites. Designed and built at C‑CORE’s facilities in St. John’s NL, the novel ground station is optimized for use with today’s emerging generation of breadbox-sized nanosats and cubesats. Its innovative self-leveling platform ensures stability during seasonal frost heave, making it ideal for Arctic deployment and maximizing downlink opportunities for polar-orbiting satellites.

Over the past decade, satellite design has been revolutionized. Satellites (and their components) are smaller and, therefore, cheaper and easier to build and launch. The hundreds of small satellites now coming into service provide an unprecedented amount of data of every kind. Existing receiving and processing infrastructure has been taxed to keep pace, but C-CORE’s new ground station is a matching solution – smaller, cheaper and more easily deployed.

Roughly one quarter the size of conventional ground stations, its robust components can be packed into a 53-foot shipping container, transported, unloaded, assembled and commissioned at the end-use site. It is designed to receive and process a variety of satellite data – optical and radar imagery, as well as the greenhouse gas measurements captured by GHGSat’s Claire satellite, whose sensor testing was supported by C-CORE’s LOOKNorth Centre in 2014.

C‑CORE’s novel ground station is a made-in-Canada solution to a national and international environmental monitoring challenge, providing a cost-effective solution to the challenge of high volumes of data and helping turn raw information into real insights.

UPDATE: C-CORE commissioned a second northern ground station, located at Happy Valley-Goose Bay, in December 2019.