Telespazio VEGA Deutschland, a subsidiary of Telespazio (Finmeccanica/Thales), has been selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) for the development of the ExoMars Mission Control System (MCS). The MCS will be used to monitor and control the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter satellite system orbiting Mars in 2016.
ExoMars is an exciting Mars exploration mission made possible by a large international cooperation with Roscosmos including also contributions from NASA. ExoMars is designed to search for traces of past or present life by remote sensing of the Martian environment and analysis of soil and sub-soil samples with a Rover. ExoMars will demonstrate new technologies that will help to pave the way for a future Mars sample return mission. The first phase of the mission involves a Mars Trace Gas Orbiter satellite to be launched in 2016 that includes an Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstration Module. In a second phase, a Mars Rover will be launched building on the experience gained through these first steps.
The Mission Control System, that will be developed by Telespazio VEGA Deutschland, is a critical element of the programme. Through the MCS, the Mission Operations Team will monitor and control the varying space segment systems throughout the satellites lifetime. The company has more than 30 years of experience in building tailored ground segment systems for its clients – including Mission Control Systems – among other the recent MCS development for the Science Mission GAIA.
The ExoMars Mission Control System benefits from the existing ESA Science Mission kernel, which Telespazio VEGA Deutschland will extend and configure for this specific mission. New features will include the monitoring and control of the ExoMars Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstration module.
ExoMars will be controlled from the European Space Operations Centre (ESA/ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany and the Rover will be controlled from the Advanced Logistics Technology Engineering Centre (ALTEC) in Torino Italy.
Telespazio VEGA Deutschland was created in 2012 from the merger of VEGA Space, established in 1978, and Telespazio Deutschland, founded in 1996. It combines the expertise and know-how acquired within the space services sector by the two companies, Telespazio VEGA Deutschland’s objective is to strengthen the Telespazio Group’s presence in Germany
Luigi Pasquali, CEO of Telespazio, declared: “I am very pleased with this contract award for the development of the Mission Control System of ESA’s ExoMars programme, a contract that recognizes Telespazio’s core competencies at the international level. This success rewards the technological and professional excellence of Telespazio’s presence in Germany. It also confirms our strategy of developing the group's role in the space services market in this country, with Telespazio VEGA Deutschland as well as with GAF".
Sigmar Keller, CEO of Telespazio VEGA Deutschland, was very pleased with the contract win: “As a full service provider of ground segments we can demonstrate through this new contract, our continued ability to deliver complex ground segment systems, ensuring quality and professionalism with our solutions”.
Telespazio VEGA Deutschland is a prime contractor within the current Ground Data Systems Frame contract with ESOC, which includes Mission Control Systems, Simulators, Mission Planning Systems and Ground System Infrastructure. The company has been involved with this contract and its predecessors for over 30 years.
Exomars_MCS_2013 EN 2013-05-16.pdf
Picture Copyright: ESA-D. Ducros, 2012