By coordinating Earth observation and space sector contracts, we're able to grow and encourage investment from outside of the Southland region.
Venture Southland manages ground station services at both the Awarua and Lochiel Satellite Ground Stations.
Mostly the ground stations are used for tracking Earth observation satellites that orbit the earth about 12 times each day at altitudes of between 400 and 800 kilometres, scanning the earth at radio and optical frequencies to monitor the environment, land use, oil pollution, ship movement and assist with disaster recovery.
Satellite tracking is a high-value industry that requires specialist skills, and as this sector has continued to grow in Southland, these roles have increasingly been able to be filled by local businesses.
The Awarua Ground Station is 11 kilometres from the city of Invercargill and is the ideal location for 'launch and early orbit phase' (LEOP), and telemetry, tracking and command (TT&C) ground stations.
As there are very few ground stations in the Southern Hemisphere to consistently download the data from polar orbit satellites, the Awawrua Satellite ground station capitalises on its location by offering international agencies excellent look-angles over the Tasman Sea and the Southern Ocean, including all of New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
The ground station was built in 2008 with the French Space Agency for the European Space Agency’s Ariane 5 ATV campaigns and is now also the home for ESOC, Planet, SpaceFlight and others’ equipment.