ESA conducts first test of common core software for European ground systems
A satellite called OPS-SAT “Space Lab” is a small CubeSat launched specifically for testing spacecraft with new operating software. ESA said that the risk of testing the software is too great to be carried out on other tasks. Interestingly, the “Space Lab” is also open to the public for experiments.
The team at ESA’s ESOC Operations Center uses the EGS-CC control system to monitor and control this small 30 cm spacecraft. Using the new software, they successfully sent commands and received data from the spacecraft. EGOS-CC project manager Klara Widegard said that the software has been successfully verified and demonstrated exciting future mission control technology and Europe’s leading position in space.
ESA needs new software because there are more missions launched today than before. These tasks need to perform a variety of tasks, from monitoring the land, ocean and climate on the earth, while other tasks are peeping into deep space or grabbing debris in space and bringing it into the atmosphere to burn. All of these tasks must send data back to ground control, while receiving instructions and performing automatic tasks on board.
A control system that can meet the needs of each spacecraft will consume too much time and resources, so a shared infrastructure is needed to allow any number of missions and mission types to share a common core. Minimize the need for customized software for each mission and allow missions to be flown by multiple operators. The software opens up a possibility for multiple operators to collaborate in different countries and control centers in a distributed manner to operate larger and complex tasks.