This antenna that recently arrived is being considered as a part of the consignment of supplies that recently arrived on a Cygnus freighter. The name of this antenna is Columbus Ka-band or COLKa Terminal. This will provide a varied range of features. The major one being that it will allow astronauts to connect with scientists and their families who are on Earth. This will happen at broadband speeds.
Within just a short period, say, a few weeks, the equipment will be fixed to the exterior part of an ISS science module, which belongs to Europe. This improvement should happen on the present arrangement that is there for radio links.
A statement has been given by David Keyon, who is the managing director of MDA UK, which is based in Oxfordshire. He was found speaking to BBC News. He said, “At the moment, the communications from Columbus go through the American data relay satellites, but those satellites are prioritized for US use. This gives Europe some independence”.
Britain was the original participant signing the treaty in 1998. This was the one which brought into existence the International Space Station. But Britain was never involved in building the platform. Britain walked away from the project, the moment it was outset. The country chose to spend the budget that was for the public space share in areas that fell in categories other than space exploration.
It was in 2012 that the UK released a signal. This was regarding a reversal in the policy. It was done by lodging new funds in that year. This was at the European Space Agency’ s(ESA) Ministerial Council. The meeting regarding the same was held in Naples.
The money that came in pave the way for Tim Peake, who is an astronaut of British origin. He is going to do so in 2015/16. An industrial opportunity has been set up. It has been ultimately resulted in contributing to COLKa.
The terminal that has been created is fridge-sized. This will route video, data, and voice to the ground. The creation will be done with the help of satellites. These satellites are at a higher level in the sky as compared to the ISS.
On certain occasions, these will make up for the nodes in a tracking system known as the American Tracking and Data Relay Satellite(TDRSS). But then, one can go for some alternative as well, which may be European.
The European Delay Relay System(EDRS) has a satellite that is currently operating. It is likely to release another satellite. Ten-Minute extended connectivity, which has a high bandwidth, will be provided for the Columbus lab for every orbit of the Earth lasting for 90 minutes. Astronauts are mostly thought of to be using COLKa for establishing a video call with the scientist who has some experiments under them.
Libby Jackson is the manager of the human exploration program. This was the one that happened at the Space Agency in the UK. Scientists say that they will be willing to establish these new connections.