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ESA's Earth observation missions: Sharing teams and facilities boosts efficiency
Date:5/5/2009

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 operations engineers and technical infrastructure from the two missions to be shared, improving efficiency and optimising resources.

So when ESA's new Earth Explorer satellite GOCE was launched on 17 March, it made sense to situate the new team members in the combined DCR as well.

Concentrating similar mission teams into combined DCRs so as to reduce costs is a practical example of ESA's 'Mission Family' concept, which is being applied with growing success to all missions controlled from ESOC, comprising Earth Observation (EO), Astronomy & Fundamental Physics, and Solar & Planetary missions.

Traditionally, once a satellite was launched and the critical Launch and Early Orbit Phase was complete, the Flight Control Team moved out of ESOC's large Main Control Room to conduct routine operations from a separate, smaller Dedicated Control Room (DCR).

Under the new Mission Family concept, the same operations methods, facilities and procedures are applied to a grouping of related missions. A common team of Spacecraft Controllers and Analysts support all satellites in a given mission family, each mission of which is managed by a mission-specific Spacecraft Operations Manager.

Manfred Warhaut, ESA's Head of Mission Operations at ESOC, says that, "The launch of GOCE offered yet another opportunity to further improve and expand the degree of integration between Earth observation mission teams."

ESA's fleet of EO
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Contact: Jocelyne Landeau-Constantin
jlc@esa.int
49-615-190-2516
European Space Agency
Source:Eurekalert

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