A state-of-the-art ground station for earth observation satellites which will function in sub-zero temperatures and withstand high wind speeds will be established at Bharati Station, the third research facility being set up by India on the icy continent of Antarctica.

The installation and commissioning of the ground station will be taken up in summer season at Antarctica, starting from December 2012 to March 2013.

The prestigious project for setting up the ground station as also a communication facility has been bagged by the Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) from the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) for a contract value of Rs.50 crore in the face of stiff global competition, according to Y.S. Mayya, Chairman and Managing Director, ECIL.

High-speed satellite raw data would be beamed in real time from Bharati Station to NRSC at Shadnagar, near here, for processing the images once the project starts functioning.

Communication facility

As part of it, a data reception station and another data communication facility linking Bharati Station and NRSC would be established.

ECIL would install two large antennae of 7.5 diameters each-one for remote sensing and the other for communication. The antennae would be enclosed in a radome to protect them from heavy winds. While one antenna was already fabricated, the second one was expected to be ready shortly.

The antennae would be installed on a platform weighing 50 tonnes and developed with special steel structure.

The entire equipment would be taken to Cape Town, South Africa, by the end of September 2012 and transported from there to Bharati Station with logistic support from National Centre for Antarctica and Ocean Research (NCAOR), Goa.

In 2007, ECIL also established the communication link between Maitri, the second Indian research station in Antarctica and NCAOR. Among others, research on tectonics and geological structures would be undertaken at Bharati Station by Indian scientists.