Press note - Darmstadt, 11 March 2016
On 14 March 2016 at 9:30 CET hrs, the ESA/Roscosmos spacecraft ExoMars TGO is planned to start its journey to Mars. High technology from and in Darmstadt is part of the journey. The company Telespazio VEGA Deutschland, a subsidiary of Telespazio (a Finmeccanica/Thales company) has been contributing mission-critical Systems and highly qualified personnel to the mission since 2013.
These systems are being used at the European Space Control Centre (ESA/ESOC) in Darmstadt: One of them is the satellite simulator which the Flight Control Team uses to prepare for the mission by testing and training different scenarios. This training plan was developed by two experienced Telespazio VEGA staff, the Simulation Officers who trained the Flight Control Team, following the lead of a "flight director" at the European Space Agency (ESA). During the ExoMars Mission, the simulator will be used to test and train future manoeuvres and further critical operations.
Another system which is needed by the Flight Control Team is the Mission Control System (MCS), also developed by Telespazio VEGA Deutschland in Darmstadt. It will be used to control the spacecraft from Earth. The MCS reads and interprets the data exchanged between the spacecraft and Earth: Whether it is data received by the satellite or commands that the Flight Control Team sends to it.
In addition to this, the company has developed the Mission Planning System (MPS), which is needed to plan all the spacecraft’s activities. This system is based on the experience of two other MPSs for exploration missions: The Rosetta and the BepiColombo MPS, both developed or under current development in Telespazio VEGA. The benefit: exploration missions have similar activities to be planned. The ExoMars MPS therefore needed “only” a re-configuration and thus, saved development time.
At ESA/ESOC, Telespazio VEGA Deutschland staff will be at the front row: Many of the company’s staff have supported the pre-launch activities, are part of the Flight Control Team during the LEOP and will also be part of the routine operations Flight Control Team. Also, several members of the Flight Dynamics Team, the operational ICT team and the Ground Station Operations Team at ESOC are Telespazio VEGA staff.
At the headquarters of the Telespazio Group they are already looking forward to the ExoMars 2018 mission: Telespazio has developed, designed and will be maintaining the communication infrastructure (RGCI) for the Rover Control Centre (ROCC). The RGCI is needed to communicate with the rover, for example in order to receive telemetry or send commands.
ExoMars is an exciting Mars exploration programme made possible by a large international cooperation with Roscosmos. The prime contractor responsible for the ExoMars spacecraft in Europe is Thales Alenia Space (a Thales/Finmeccanica company). The first phase of the programme 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, to be launched in 2018, a Mars Rover and a Surface Platform will be launched building on the experience gained through these first steps. The 2018 ExoMars rover is designed to search for traces of past and present life by collecting and analysing sub-soil samples with a drill and a powerful set of instruments. ExoMars will demonstrate new technologies that will help to pave the way for a future Mars sample return mission.
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ExoMars 2016 Darmstadt_TelespazioVEGA_EN.pdf
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