Science and Development support to ESA

Telespazio UK has been supporting ESA’s European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) since 1995. Our mission support includes:

  • SOLAR ORBITER: mission performs close-up, high-resolution studies of our Sun and inner heliosphere, launched on 10 February 2020.
  • BEPI-COLOMBO: a mission to the planet Mercury consisting of two spacecraft: the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO), launched on 20 October 2018.
  • XMM-NEWTON: An astronomical observatory dedicated to observing the sky at X-ray wavelengths, flying for over 20 years.
  • EULCID: A future 1.2m telescope operating at optical and near infrared (NIR) wavelengths
  • ROSETTA: Mission was successfully placed in ‘orbit’ about the comet 67P/ChuryumovGerasimenko. A lander, Philae, was placed on the surface of a comet for the first time.
  • HERSCHEL: A far infrared and sub-millimetre astronomy satellite that made more than 35,000 astronomical observations between 2009 and 2013.
  • INTEGRAL: a gamma-ray observatory, primarily observing in the 15 keV to 10 MeV range, which has been operating since 2002.
  • EXOMARS: Multiple goals of searching for tell-tale gases in the Martian atmosphere, which may indicate biological processes, and testing descent and landing technology.
  • JUICE: Future mission designed to study the major moons of Jupiter, planned for launch in 2022

Science Operations Centres

ESAC hosts the Science Operations Centres (SOC) for the astronomical, planetary and fundamental physics missions run by ESA.

Telespazio UK has senior scientists employed across ESAC and engineers and scientists leading the archive and software development activities of almost every mission. Telespazio UK SOC support includes supporting the project scientist, development manager and operations manager to develop, evolve and run the mission.

Our flexible staff have helped ESA with the transfer of knowledge between astronomy, planetary and heliophysics areas, moving between past, current and future missions.

Cross-mission groups

Within ESAC, we support several mission-independent groups that perform a vital service producing generic software that can be used for multiple missions. Telespazio UK is significantly involved in the ESAC Science Data Centre (ESDC), which hosts all science archives of ESA Space Science astronomy, planetary and heliophysics missions.

The ESDC is a central group responsible for the design, development and operation of mission archives at ESA. Archives are designed, as far as possible, around a common architecture, using a standard database design and graphical interface. This approach has the advantage of maximising reusability and minimising development time.