in a tree lightning protection system. a conductive plate or rod used to create a path to ground.
- For stations controlling unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), see Ground control station.
A ground station, earth station, or earth terminal is a terrestrial radio station designed for extraplanetary telecommunication with spacecraft (constituting part of the ground segment of the spacecraft system), or reception of radio waves from astronomical radio sources. Ground stations may be located either on the surface of the Earth, or in its atmosphere. Earth stations communicate with spacecraft by transmitting and receiving radio waves in the super high frequency or extremely high frequency bands (e.g., microwaves). When a ground station successfully transmits radio waves to a spacecraft (or vice versa), it establishes a telecommunications link. A principal telecommunications device of the ground station is the parabolic antenna.
Ground stations may have either a fixed or itinerant position. Article 1 § III of the ITU Radio Regulations describes various types of stationary and mobile ground stations, and their interrelationships.
Specialized satellite earth stations are used to telecommunicate with satellites—chiefly communications satellites. Other ground stations communicate with manned space stations or unmanned space probes. A ground station that primarily receives telemetry data, or that follows a satellite not in geostationary orbit, is called a tracking station.
When a satellite is within a ground station's line of sight, the station is said to have a view of the satellite (see pass). It is possible for a satellite to communicate with more than one ground station at a time. A pair of ground stations are said to have a satellite in mutual view when the stations share simultaneous, unobstructed, line-of-sight contact with the satellite.