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Earth and space observation at the German Antarctic Receiving Station O’Higgins

Klügel, Thomas and Höppner, Kathrin and Falk, Reinhard and Kühmstedt, Elke and Plötz, Christian and Reinhold, Andreas and Rülke, Axel and Wojdziak, Reiner and Balss, Ulrich and Diedrich, Erhard and Eineder, Michael and Henniger, Hennes and Metzig, Robert and Steigenberger, Peter and Gisinger, Christoph and Schuh, Harald and Böhm, Johannes and Ojha, Roopesh and Kadler, Matthias and Humbert, Angelika and Braun, Matthias and Sun, Jing (2015) Earth and space observation at the German Antarctic Receiving Station O’Higgins. Polar Record, 51 (6), pp. 590-610. Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/S0032247414000540. ISSN 0032-2474.

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Official URL: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=9374805&fulltextType=RA&fileId=S0032247414000540


The German Antarctic Receiving Station (GARS) O’Higgins at the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula is a dual purpose facility for earth observation and has existed for more than 20 years. It serves as a satellite ground station for payload data downlink and telecommanding of remote sensing satellites as well as a geodetic observatory for global reference systems and global change. Both applications use the same 9 m diameter radio antenna. Major outcomes of this usage are summarised in this paper. The satellite ground station O’Higgins (OHG) is part of the global ground station network of the German Remote Sensing Data Centre (DFD) operated by the German Aerospace Centre (DLR). It was established in 1991 to provide remote sensing data downlink support within the missions of the European Remote Sensing Satellites ERS-1 and ERS-2. These missions provided valuable insights into the changes of the Antarctic ice shield. Especially after the failure of the on-board data recorder, OHG became an essential downlink station for ERS-2 real-time data transmission. Since 2010, OHG is manned during the entire year, specifically to support the TanDEM-X mission. OHG is a main dump station for payload data, monitoring and telecommanding of the German TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X satellites. For space geodesy and astrometry the radio antenna O’Higgins significantly improves coverage over the southern hemisphere and plays an essential role within the global Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) network. In particular the determination of the Earth Orientation Parameters (EOP) and the sky coverage of the International Celestial Reference Frame (ICRF) benefit from the location at a high southern latitude. Further, the resolution of VLBI images of active galactic nuclei (AGN), cosmic radio sources defining the ICRF, improves significantly when O’Higgins is included in the network. The various geodetic instrumentation and the long time series at O’Higgins allow a reliable determination of crustal motions. VLBI station velocities, continuous GNSS measurements and campaign-wise absolute gravity measurements consistently document a vertical rate of about 5 mm/a. This crustal uplift is interpreted as an elastic rebound due to ice loss as a consequence of the ice shelf disintegration in the Prince Gustav Channel in the late 1990s. The outstanding location on the Antarctic continent and its year-around operation make GARS O’Higgins in future increasingly attractive for polar orbiting satellite missions and a vitally important station for the global VLBI network. Future plans call for the development of an observatory for environmentally relevant research. That means that the portfolio of the station will be expanded including the expansion of the infrastructure and the construction and operation of new scientific instruments suitable for long-term measurements and satellite ground truthing.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/91057/
Document Type:Article
Title:Earth and space observation at the German Antarctic Receiving Station O’Higgins
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Höppner, KathrinUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-0905-6559UNSPECIFIED
Falk, ReinhardFederal Agency for Cartography and GeodesyUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Kühmstedt, ElkeFederal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy, GermanyUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Plötz, ChristianFederal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy, GermanyUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Reinhold, AndreasFederal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy, GermanyUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Rülke, AxelFederal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy, GermanyUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Wojdziak, ReinerFederal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy, GermanyUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Eineder, MichaelUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-5068-1324UNSPECIFIED
Steigenberger, PeterUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-1905-6699137355135
Gisinger, ChristophTechnische Universität München, GermanyUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Schuh, HaraldDeutsches GeoForschungsZentrum, Potsdam, GermanyUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Böhm, JohannesVienna University of Technology, Vienna, AustriaUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Ojha, RoopeshNational Aeronautics and Space Administration, Greenbelt, USAUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Kadler, MatthiasUniversität Würzburg, GermanyUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Humbert, AngelikaAlfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, GermanyUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Braun, MatthiasFriedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, GermanyUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Sun, JingShanghai Astronomical Observatory, ChinaUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Journal or Publication Title:Polar Record
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 590-610
EditorsEmailEditor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Stone, Ian R.Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, UKUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
Keywords:International ground segment, Satellite receiving station, Antarctic Peninsula, Earth observation, ERS, TerraSAR-X, Tandem-X, Space observation
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Earth Observation
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EO - Earth Observation
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben Datenakquisition und Produktgenerierung (old)
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:German Remote Sensing Data Center > International Ground Segment
Remote Sensing Technology Institute > SAR Signal Processing
Deposited By: Höppner, Dr. Kathrin
Deposited On:06 Nov 2014 09:47
Last Modified:22 Jun 2023 12:25

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