ESOC was established in September 1976 in Darmstadt, Germany. Its 3 main roles are:
Operation of space segment (satellite) and ground segment (stations, networks, control center, computers)
Execution & Coordination of satellite operations and ground system activities in Europe
Planning and execution of complex satellite operations in all phases:
• scientific missions
• “first of its kind” missions e.g. Rosetta
• Ground Systems Engineering:
Development of ground systems for satellite operations control centers, ground stations, antennas and software
Ground Segment Technology
ESA unique competence for flight dynamics (operations), space debris and precise navigation
Space Situational Awareness
There are 800 staff on site of which 250 ESA. In addition, ESOC has numerous outposts e.g. tracking stations.
When I was a little boy I wanted to become an astronaut and especially in this sense working for ESA was indeed a long-term dream. Obviously it took a lot of effort and quite some time to find a job in the space sector, but it is fair to say that it is very gratifying. In particular, it gave me the great opportunity to work in a truly international environment, making it possible to collaborate with colleagues from many different countries.
If you are ready to work hard over a long period of time, only the sky is the limit. As long as you keep walking into your dreams you will live your dreams.
There have been many of them. One of them for instance was the landing of the probe Philae probe onto the comet’s surface on 12 November 2014. And of course, the “grand finale” of Rosetta on 30 September 2016.