Earth stations, which are also commonly referred to as earth terminals or ground stations, are one of the main pieces of equipment that allow communication between various locations around the globe via satellite. Explorer mobile Earth stations are a specific type of station that are available in most variations of earth stations and are utilized for an array of communication applications. While satellite earth stations communicate with satellites, typically communications satellites, many other earth stations are used to remain in contact with manned space stations or unmanned space probes. Tracking stations mainly receive telemetry data and do not follow satellites in geostationary orbit.
Some types of satellites are capable of communicating with two or more earth stations at a single time. This is possible because any time a satellite is within the line of sight of a mobile earth station, the station has a view that allows communication. When this is true of more than one station, they share a mutual view, and multiple communications are possible.
Explorer mobile earth stations are equipped with a number of antennas. A satellite earth station that has multiple antennas is referred to as a telecommunications port, but it is also more commonly called a teleport. The main function of the teleport is to link the telecommunications network on the ground with the satellite or geocentric orbital network. Teleports are an essential component utilized for different broadcasting services, but they are also capable of performing many other roles, such as giving commands over uplink or loading computer programs. Explorer mobile earth stations are available for any telecommunications network.
A satellite telecommunications network and its protocols are defined by several organizations, and an earth terminal complex must follow several standards and requirements. According to the Federal Standard 1037C of the United States General Services Administration, an earth terminal complex has the assemblage of equipment and facilities that are necessary to integrate an earth terminal into a telecommunications network. The federal definition is included in the ATIS Telecom Glossary. ATIS stands for Alliance for the Telecommunications Industry Solutions. This is a private organization that focuses on international business. The Telecommunications Industry Association also recognizes the definition. However, the exact distinctions made in FS-1037C are not always recognized, particularly beyond the United States. Communications standards are determined by a sector of the International Telecommunication Union, the ITU Radio communication Sector (ITU-R). Satellite operators also give technical requirements and standards to mobile satellites.