The European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) operates a number of ground-based space-tracking stations for the European Space Agency (ESA) known as the European Space Tracking (ESTRACK) network. The stations support various ESA spacecraft and facilitate communications between ground operators and scientific probes such as XMM-Newton and Mars Express. Other similar networks include the Deep Space Network of the United States NASA, the Indian Deep Space Network, the Chinese Deep Space Network, and the Soviet Deep Space Network.
As well as the ESTRACK control centre in ESOC, the network consists of ten ESA-owned stations and four stations run cooperatively with other organisations. The stations are:
- New Norcia Station (Australia)
- Perth Station (Australia)
- Redu Station (Belgium)
- Kourou Station (French Guayana)
- Cebreros Station (Spain)
- Maspalomas Station (Gran Canaria, Spain)
- Villafranca Station (Spain)
- Kiruna Station (Sweden)
- Santa Maria (Azores, Portugal)
- Malargüe Station, Argentina.
Each ESTRACK station is different, supporting multiple missions, some sharing one or more of the same missions. The ESTRACK network consists of at least:
- Three 35-metre diameter antennas (New Norcia, Cebreros and Malargüe).
- Seven 15-metre antennas
- One 13-metre antenna
- One 12-metre antenna
- One 5.5-metre antenna
- Six GPS-TDAF antennas
There are also at least eleven more smaller antennas with sizes of 9.3 to 2.5-metres. The antennas are remotely operated from the ESTRACK Control Centre (ECC) located at ESOC.
On 1 January 2013, the 35-metre station Marlargüe became the newest station to join the ESTRACK Deep Space Network.
The station in Santa-Maria can be used to track Ariane launches and it is also capable of tracking Vega and Soyuz launchers operated from ESA's Spaceport at Kourou, French Guiana.
- NASA Deep Space Network