ESA’s Cebreros tracking station in Spain has reduced its power consumption by 60% in the move that saw almost 800 lights replaced. The project will pay for itself in five years.
Cosmos magazine has long been a proponent of the benefits of LED lighting – see Growing up as LED lights come of age
Cebreros Station is part of ESA’s worldwide Estrack ground station network.
It entered service as the second deep-space terminal in 2005 (the other two are located at New Norcia, Australia, and Malargüe, Argentina). It provides routine support to deep-space missions such as Mars Express, Gaia and Rosetta, as well as missions flown by other agencies.
The antenna dish is 35 m in diameter and the entire structure is 40 m high and weighs about 620 tonnes. Engineers can point the antenna with a speed of 1 degree per second in both axes. Cebreros’ servo control system assures the highest possible pointing accuracy under the site’s environmental, wind and temperature conditions.
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.
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