The Ground Segment

is one of the key elements of every Space mission and it is even more important in an In-Orbit Validation and Demonstration. In addition to the spacecraft and mission management, the possibility to directly interact with the payload, performing tasks and analyzing the results, allows you to push the boundaries of the technology in orbit.

The services offered by the Ground Segment includes several activities that will be discussed and agreed during the preliminary service offer and defined with the Service Level Agreement.

Payload Control Center (PCC)

The PCC is an operational data processing center, which provides all the functionalities intended for the preparation and management of payload operations.
It is in charge of the programming and monitoring of the payloads, the temporary storage, processing, acquisition and distribution of the data related to the IOV mission. All these tasks can be triggered either automatically or manually.

It interfaces with two main entities: the SCC, on one side, to exchange payloads TM/TC for both house-keeping and IOV operations, and the Service Software Portal, on the other side, for payload data provision to final users and for managing user requests during orbital operations. It interfaces also with payload users in phase of mission planning, and in case of user’s requests during orbital operations.

The PCC performs the following functions:

  • Payload management
  • Operations planning and management, in coordination with the SCC
  • Data acquisition and management
  • Data delivery



Payload Operation Requests:

capability to receive request of payload operation, and perform a preliminary software simulation with the aim to provide a first feedback for the operation feasibility;

Plan Payload Operations:

capability to derive the list of telecommands to be executed in order to actuate the payload operation, including the operations on platform side necessary to ensure the attitude and the operative mode of the platform required for the payload task;

Simulation Payload Operations:

capability to perform realistic simulation through the use of representative platform hardware (flatsat) and on-board software;

Deploy and Monitor Payload Operations:

capability to send the list of telecommands the platform used for the specific mission, perform the required operation in space, receive the scientific data generated by the payload and transmitted to Earth;

Sharing Data:

capability to deliver the payload raw and/or processed data through a customized and dedicated dashboard.

Ground Stations

In order to provide a flexible service, the ground segment covers multiple frequency bands:

  • UHF band: usually adopted for uplink and downlink communication in Cubesats platforms and optionally for TT&C in MicroSat platforms.
  • S-band: adopted as TT&C communication sub-system in MiniSat platforms.
  • C-band: baseline uplink and downlink communication solution in MicroSat and MiniSat platforms.
  • Available as an option for CubeSat.

The integration of new links depending on the needs of the IOV payloads will be evaluated and integrated on a case-by-case basis.
Each RF chain will include an independent antenna and modem section. In order to manage multiple links for the same mission, a high level interface will be included in order to share the same Spacecraft Control Center on different RF chains.

Spacecraft Control Center (SCC)

The SCC is in charge of all satellite monitoring and control. It is responsible for all telecommands generation and telemetry de-commutation, as well as results reception, operations database and procedure handling and translation, data archiving, retrieval and manipulation for analysis, automation of procedures and telemetry checking.

Ground Station Network (G/S)

which includes the hardware developed for the transmission/reception of data to/from the SS, including antenna rotors, radio frequency distribution unit and modems;

Mission Control Center (MCC)

which includes all the hardware and software tools developed to control and monitor the mission and to manage the payload activation.

The MCC receives as Input:

  • Costumer request from Web Portal;
  • P/L procedures from PCC;
  • TLE data from NORAD database.

The MCC provides as Output:

  • Validated costumer request to PCC;
  • S/C TM data to PCC by a service channel;
  • P/L TM and scientific data to PCC by a payload channel.