Space Sciences

The two fundamental questions driving scientific research in Space Sciences are: How did the universe form and how did life first appear?

By studying our own Galaxy, scientists try to understand the living cycle of a star as well as how planetary systems are formed. Understanding our closest star, the Sun, is helping scientists to learn more about how stars evolve as well as helping scientists to better understand phenomena affecting the Earth's climate, such as solar eruptions. By comparative study of planets in the solar system, scientists are discovering mechanisms like volcanic or tectonic activity and the greenhouse effect, which have fashioned our planet and its climate.

And to conclude this short introduction, astrophysics and particle physics are converging in their search for a single law common to the fundamental interactions governing the Universe, and for a fuller understanding of the role of gravity.

Space Weather

Space weather is the concept of changing environmental conditions in near-Earth space[1] or the space from the Sun's atmosphere to the Earth's atmosphere. It is distinct from the concept of weather within the Earth's atmosphere (troposphere and stratosphere). Space weather is the description of changes in the ambient plasma, magnetic fields, radiation, and other matter in space. Much of space weather is driven by energy carried through interplanetary space by the solar wind from regions near the surface of the Sun and the Sun's atmosphere (chromosphere and corona).[2] The term space weather is sometimes used to refer to changes in interplanetary (and occasionally interstellar) space.

Source : Wikipedia

Solar Physics

Solar physics is the study of our Sun. It is a branch of astrophysics that specializes in exploiting and explaining the detailed measurements that are possible only for our closest star. It intersects with many disciplines of pure physics, astrophysics, and computer science, including fluid dynamics, plasma physics including magnetohydrodynamics, seismology, particle physics, atomic physics, nuclear physics, stellar evolution, space physics, spectroscopy, radiative transfer, applied optics, signal processing, computer vision, and computational physics.

Source : wikipedia

Documents

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The Picard Payload Data Centre

PICARD is a scientific space mission dedicated to the study of the solar variability origin.

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Continuous Training for Supporting Long-term Payload Missions

B.USOC, the Belgian User Support and Operations Centre, is the centre responsible for the operations of ESA’s SOLAR payload, which is externally accommodated on the Columbus Module and has been operating continuously since February 2008. The B.USOC operators, as all ISS ground Support Personnel have successfully followed the specific training and certification programme which guarantee the operational safety and mission success to the maximum extent. This certification programme mainly consists of the internal qualification and the successful participation of a number of European Simulations (ES) and Joint Multi-Segment Trainings (JMST), organized by ESA/EAC and NASA, respectively. The certification permits operators to execute on-console operations on a specific payload. However, a long-term and complex mission like SOLAR calls for additional, payload specific training. The B.USOC has set up an internal qualification programme for future SOLAR operators. The already certified operators receive continuous training through refresher sessions, optimisation boards, operations tools, and practical exercises. Especially during long-term missions, where payload operations are optimized continuously and become routine, the acquired skills and knowledge of the operators need to be maintained at a high level in order to achieve a successful mission. I. Introduction or the operations of the European Payloads on-board the International Space Station (ISS), ESA has adopted a decentralized infrastructure, based on the concept of the User Support and Operations Centres (USOCs). Each USOC is assigned to support the majority of tasks related to the preparation and the in-flight operations of European payloads. USOCs are generally located in national centres across Europe. The B.USOC (Belgian User Support and Operation Centre) is a USOC set up by ESA and the Belgian Science Policy Office. Within the Columbus general framework, the B.USOC is the Facility Responsible Centre (FRC) for the Solar Monitoring Observatory (SOLAR). SOLAR (Figure 1) is an integrated platform accommodating three instruments complementing each other to allow measurements of the solar spectral irradiance throughout a large part of the electromagnetic spectrum, ranging from the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) to the near infrared (IR)1,2. 1 B.USOC Training Responsible, Space Applications Services, saliha.klai@spaceapplications.com 2 B.USOC Training Responsible, Space Applications Services, kim.vijle@spaceapplications.com 3 B.USOC SOLAR Operator, Space Applications Services, alexander.karl@aeronomie.be 4 B.USOC Project Manager, B.USOC, alice.michel@aeronomie.be F Figure 1:

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YAMCS - A Mission Control System

In mission control centers, a major part of the ground segment is the front-end and backend software which is used to assist payload and system operators in their daily tasks. YAMCS (which stands for “Yet Another Mission Control System” and is pronounced as yams, the sweet potato) is a software package which has been created for long-term payload operations. YAMCS is currently implemented at two User Support and Operations Centres (USOCs) as an extension to ESA’s standard Mission Control System (MCS) for Columbus. This lightweight YAMCS integrates into the existing USOC architecture, fulfilling specific mission related needs that the standard MCS is not capable of.

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