AMSAT-DL reports that on April 2, 2013, the two NASA STEREO space-based observatories switched to Turbo Codes to transmit their real-time space weather data permanently. A network of four ground stations, located at the IUZ in Bochum/Germany, CNES in Toulouse/France, NICT in Koganei/Japan and amateur radio station DL0SHF in Kiel-Ronne/Germany receives this data, and uses turbo-decoding software written by AMSAT-DL.
The Bochum station is run by AMSAT-DL e.V. and IUZ Bochum Observatory, with the support of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology and DLR.
Said Doug Biesecker, NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center:
“Thanks to the wonderful work of our colleagues running the station in Bochum and the support of DLR, we can now be sure of receiving real-time data from the NASA/STEREO satellite throughout the life of the mission. The STEREO data has proven to provide significant benefits to space weather forecasting and is used by NOAA on a daily basis to ensure the best possible forecasts. Space weather increasingly threatens the technological infrastructure of our modern world, with demonstrated impacts on global positioning, power grids, and high frequency communication systems.”
The switch to Turbo Codes has improved reception capabilities of the ground stations by about 2 dB, which is a very welcome improvement giving the increasing distances – 269 and 286 million kilometers respectively – that need to be covered.