As you know, one of AsiaSat’s earth stations locates in the beautiful Stanley Peninsula of Hong Kong. It was built in a teleport, however, you will need to apply for a permit before your entry. What happened there? Why is it strictly controlled? Let’s dive into some historical stories here.
The earth station is located inside Stanley Fort, which started construction in 1936, and completed in July 1937. Occupying a site of 128 hectares on the Stanley Peninsula at the southern side of Hong Kong Island, it was the most powerful weapon with glorious history back in the days. After World War II, British troops had been stationed there until it was handed over to Hong Kong government in 1994.
Stanley Fort is currently occupied by the People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison, which is a strictly controlled military zone. In 1969, Hong Kong 1, Hong Kong's very first satellite dish was set up in Stanley. It was a huge milestone in Hong Kong Telecommunication history. For the very first time Hong Kong was enabled to send and receive television and video signals around the world and this marked the beginning of Hong Kong's role as a telecommunications hub and its global telecommunications network.
Hong Kong 1 faced the Pacific Ocean, while two years later Hong Kong 2 came into service in Stanley Fort facing the opposite direction, the Indian Ocean.
AsiaSat set up its first earth station in Stanley in 1989 for the purposes of our first satellite’s telemetry receiving, tracking and commanding. It’s designed as an unmanned remote earth station, located inside a teleport that used to be operated by Cable & Wireless. The earth station has been behind the Check Chue Barracks from day one and due to its unique location, it’s required a permit through REACH to enter the barrack area before accessing the Stanley station, making the visit a very appealing opportunity.
During the early phase, the Stanley earth station had much less antenna. Back in 1990, just before AsiaSat 1’s launch, this earth station only had one 11m tracking antenna and a 5m fixed pointing antenna; both of which were C-band. Now we have three 9-11m tracking antennae, two 6m Ku-band tracking antennae, and one 5m fixed pointing antenna. For satellite control facility, it started with only a few racks of AsiaSat 1 baseband & RF equipment and now supports our full fleet including AsiaSat 3S, AsiaSat 4, AsiaSat 5, AsiaSat 6, AsiaSat 7, AsiaSat 8 and the upcoming AsiaSat 9.
Before our Tai Po Earth Station was built, all the satellites’ TCR (Tracking, Command, and Receiving) has to be uplinked and downlinked from Stanley. When our Tai Po earth station went into full service in 2004, Tai Po has become our primary satellite control facility while using the Stanley Earth Station as an important backup system. These two facilities are connected by duplicated, identical leased circuits to ensure the highest reliability and integrity for TCR functionalities for AsiaSat fleet.
Let's take a moment and enjoy the beautiful view there through the animation below.