Latest European Space Operations Centre Stories

2009-05-05 13:31:02

With ESA's family of Earth observation missions expanding, it makes sense to share operations engineers across satellites and conduct mission control from a combined Dedicated Control Room. The move is increasing efficiency, enhancing effectiveness and generating improved economic returns. Flight control teams operating Envisat and ERS-2 have long worked out of a combined Earth Observation (EO) Dedicated Control Room (DCR) at ESOC, the European Space Operations Centre, enabling spacecraft...

2009-04-29 08:45:00

Envisat and ERS-2, ESA's two veteran Earth missions, have completed a second tandem observation campaign. The technique involved flying the two satellites in precisely coordinated orbits, generating valuable new radar data for modeling Arctic terrain. Both Envisat and ERS-2 are equipped with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) instruments that can generate highly accurate radar images of any region of the Earth's surface. By combining two or more SAR images taken by one satellite of the same site,...

2009-04-06 10:15:00

GOCE's sophisticated electric ion propulsion system has been switched on and confirmed to be operating normally, marking another crucial milestone in the satellite's post-launch commissioning phase. The success of GOCE's ultra-sensitive gravity measurements depends on finely controlling the satellite's orbit and speed. The push from the thruster must be just enough to compensate for the tiny amount of drag generated by the few wisps of atmosphere at GOCE's orbital height. No normal jet engine...

2009-04-02 13:30:00

In response to more reports of dangerous space junk, the European Space Agency (ESA) on Thursday announced plans to begin a monitoring system for orbital space debris within the next few years."The goal is to be able to offer 'precursor' services in the next two or three years which among other things issue alerts about collision risks," Nicolas Bobrinsky of ESA's European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, told AFP."We already have the installations and a knowledge base which we have to...

2009-04-02 12:20:00

The verification of operations procedures for Herschel and Planck at ESA's European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) has now positively concluded. However, during final checks on the spacecraft, concerns have arisen and a short delay is proposed in order to allow ESA and Arianespace to carry out a final and independent check of the safety margins. Therefore, the final decision on the date of the Herschel and Planck launch will be postponed by a few days. The Herschel telescope mirror, the...

2009-03-20 13:10:00

ESA's GOCE satellite was formally declared ready for work at 01:00 CET on March 20. During the critical Launch and Early Orbit Phase beginning with separation from its booster on March 17, GOCE was checked out to confirm that all of its control systems are operating normally. The end of the Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) came overnight after GOCE was switched to Fine Pointing Mode. This means that all of its systems are working normally and the satellite is ready for full commissioning...

2009-03-18 13:59:07

After liftoff March 17, ESA's GOCE spacecraft is performing very well, having achieved an extremely accurate injection altitude just 1.5 km lower than planned. The Mission Control Team is now working round-the-clock shifts to implement a series of critical check-out procedures. The Mission Control Team at ESOC, ESA's Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, are now conducting the complex and critical 'Launch and Early Operations Phase' (LEOP) for GOCE, which was successfully launched...

2008-11-26 12:05:00

The European Space Agency (ESA) will soon have a research center in the UK to concentrate on space robotics and climate change science. The new facility will be based on the Harwell innovation campus in Oxfordshire. Britain is currently the only major member state of ESA to not host one of its own technical centers. European science ministers have been meeting at The Hague to approve agency policies and funding. The agreement to open the facility was announced during those meetings. Senior...

2008-11-16 10:50:00

Imagine how difficult it is to control a spacecraft thousands of miles away, ensure it arrives at the right location and then get the scientific and photographic equipment up and running. To do this highly sophisticated software is needed; software that can also be used on Earth to manage equally complex TV terrestrial broadcasting. British company SciSys has provided software for a number of ESA missions, both for mission control on the ground and for spacecraft. This includes science...

2008-08-18 11:55:00

On August 14, Rosetta conducted a successful trajectory correction maneuver using data obtained from the Agency's first-ever optical tracking of an asteroid target, (2867) Steins. Images from the spacecraft's cameras were used to calculate the asteroid's location and optimize its trajectory for fly-by next month. Rosetta's first major correction maneuver in the approach phase took place while the spacecraft was just less than 17 million km from Steins. The spacecraft's thrusters burned...

Word of the Day
  • The offense of persistently instigating lawsuits, typically groundless ones.
  • An unlawful breach of duty on the part of a ship's master or crew resulting in injury to the ship's owner.
  • Sale or purchase of positions in church or state.
This word ultimately comes from the Old French word 'barater,' to cheat.