Awarua Tracking Station

Awarua Space Tracking Station, 5 September 2016

Awarua Space Tracking Station, 5 September 2016. Photo: Neil Sanderson

Awarua Space Tracking Station was developed by Venture Southland in 2007, on land that was once part of the Awarua Radio station.

It is used by the European Space Agency to track Ariane 5 rockets following their launch from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana for the ATV (Automated Transfer Vehicle) missions.

The site was chosen because of its high latitude, low horizons and isolation from sources of radio interference. It has a broadband link to the Internet.

Awarua is also used by a lightning detection project measuring lightning up to 6000 km away and by a project collecting radio noise data.

Since 2015, the station has been used by Planet Labs to control more than 80 earth observation microsatellites and download photographs of earth from space.