The Mission Operation Centre (MOC) is located at the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany. It is responsible for spacecraft operations and associated ground segment development. The MOC will provide the downlinked science data along with the relevant housekeeping data to the Science Operations Centre (SOC), and will receive science operation requests from the SOC.
The tasks of the MOC include mission planning, spacecraft monitoring and control, all orbit and attitude determination and control as well as scientific instrument operations (functional quality control and collection of the science telemetry). ESOC will provide a ground segment that comprises all facilities, hardware, software, documentation and staff, required to conduct the mission operations. Three ground stations (Cebreros, Spain, New Norcia, Australia and Malargüe, Argentina) will be used.
The ground operations facilities consist of: (a) the ground stations and the communications network (hardware and software); (b) the mission control centre (infrastructure, computer hardware); (c) the flight control system (data processing and flight dynamics software); (d) the spacecraft simulator. All mission and flight control facilities, except the ground stations, will be located at ESOC, including the interfaces for the provision of science telemetry to the scientific data reduction teams.
The scanning law will remain unmodified throughout the mission. Nominal spacecraft control during the routine mission phase will be ‘off line' - contacts between the Mission Control Centre at ESOC and the spacecraft, except for collecting payload and housekeeping telemetry, will primarily be used for pre-programming of the autonomous operations functions on the spacecraft (up-link of master schedule), and for science data collection. The science data will be distributed to the scientific processing centre at ESAC directly via high-speed communication lines.