16 March 2009 – VEGA, a Finmeccanica company, is preparing for the launch of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Explorer (GOCE) today, Monday 16 March 2009.
GOCE has been developed to generate detailed understanding of one of the Earth's most fundamental forces of nature – gravity – and will map the field with unprecedented accuracy and spatial resolution. As part of ESA’s Living Planet programme – which is focused on Earth observation – GOCE will be the first of a series of Earth Explorer satellites in orbit, designed to provide information for understanding critical Earth system variables.
VEGA is playing a key role on the GOCE flight control team and mission control team (MCT), providing systems and operations engineering support, and running the simulations campaign with both the Prime and Back-Up Simulations Officers. This campaign involves MCTs taking part in day-long simulations, imitating the spacecraft and ground stations, generating system failures, and ensuring all MCT members are adept at dealing with possible live problems, once GOCE is launched.
John Auburn, VEGA’s Aerospace Business Director, said: “VEGA has been working on GOCE for many years. Our operations and training expertise has been gained over the past 30 years from such pioneering missions, and we are always delighted to support ESOC in their innovative programmes.”