OdISSea Timeline

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View the website on http://ulisse.busoc.be/odissea/

European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Frank De Winne, of Belgian nationality, flew to the International Space Station (ISS) in late October 2002 on board a Russian Soyuz taxi flight. He became the first Belgian to visit the ISS. During the mission, named Odissea, De Winne performed a series of science and technology related experiments on board the ISS. The Belgian Federal Office for Scientific, Technical and Cultural Affairs (OSTC) provided the funding for De Winne's flight and the related experimental programme.

A crew including Mission Commander Sergei Zalyotin, and Flight Engineers Frank De Winne and Yuri Lonchakov, lifted off on a Russian Soyuz rocket from Baikonur in Kazakhstan for an 11-day mission. The launch took place on 30 October 2002.

Mission preparation, implementation and operations

The support to the Belgian mission was given by ESA.

OdISSea Mission management (located at ESTEC – in direct interaction with the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office was concerned with:

  • Top level managerial activities that involved external entities and had a major effect on the relations with other organizations Management of programmatic aspects of the project
  • Strategic directions with respect to ESA/Russian and ESA/NASA coordination Coordination of relationship with the public (press release, etc)
  • Mission insurance (safety quality insurance of the OdISSea mission payload complement)

ESA Odissea Operations Coordination Team at the Taxi Operations Coordination Centre - TOCC implemented for the occasion in the Erasmus Centre located at the European Space Research and Technology Center - ESTEC (the Netherlands).

The role of CNES and ASI concerned the preparation and operation of the life sciences.

Roles and Responsibilities

The functions of the B.USOC during operations were the following:

  • Implementation of agreed science and mission activities
  • Scientific (Life Sciences and Physical Sciences) support to the TOCC
  • Scientific (Life Sciences and Physical Sciences) support to the PI’s at the B.USOC
  • Scientific (Physical Sciences) interface to the TOCC and TSC
  • Coordination and implementation of public relations
  • Communication network maintenance
  • Acquisition display and storage of ISS telemetry and orbit parameters
  • Acquisition display and storage of audio- video transmissions related to experiments and mission support<:li>
  • Acquisition and report of ISS mission status
  • Display of relevant information related to the mission (timeline, etc)
  • Accommodation of ESA representatives

Collaboration with Scientist

In general scientists and representatives of Verhaert and CNES have been present for the critical moments of their experiments. For some experiments (PROMISS – DCCO – NEUROCOG – CARDIOCOG) their presence was required all the time of their experiment run.

The interventions made by the scientists, technical representatives and B.USOC operators consisted mainly of:

  • Quasi instantaneous responses concerning the manipulations of their experiment Interactions with ESA – Safety – MSG – POD etc.... to elaborate changes in procedures
  • Development of new or recovery procedures (PROMISS, NEUROCOG, CARDIOCOG)
  • Analysis of data and video (PROMISS – DCCO – COSMIC) on the spot with twice the upload of corrected positions for PROMISS and GO / NO GO for COSMIC
  • Planning and requests for video requirements
  • Discussion with ESA Scientific coordinator (Life and Physical)

Interface with UHB

There has been a regular contact with the two Belgian UHB’s during the mission. This allowed to have a back up of data and video and to have more people able to verify the experiments performance. For COSMIC, this allowed to have only one scientist at the B.USOC and to have the others at the UHB. This implied an efficient way of working and decision making after phone contacts with people at the UHB.

Next to the operations room, there was a meeting room that could be used by the scientists and by B.USOC team when their presence was not required in the ops room. In this meeting room, there was one PC with access to OCMS, CEPP timeline and mail.


The function is aimed at Belgian scientists involved in space research. This function means more particularly to keep scientists and Belgian industries, politicians and even the general public informed via the website about the publications, the organization of PR events on the occasion of missions with significant Belgian contribution.

The unit gathers and/of creates the material necessary for PR activities (pictures, videos, booklets, posters, website, cd-roms,...). Most of the achievements are made in French, Dutch and English.

Organization of several events in order to promote the odISSea mission : Round table at the Euro Space Center which was live broadcasted on VRT radio and RTBF radio in the presence of the scientists involved in the mission, participation in various exhibitions,...

The B.USOC made a 19 minutes video film on the mission itself as well as on the Belgian scientists involved.

After the mission, an educational video tape was made by the Science Policy Office with contributions from the B.USOC.

Scientific Propgrams

The scientific programme during the OdISSea mission was the most important realized during a Soyuz Taxi-flight. The programme was realized in the US laboratory Destiny for the experiments performed in the MSG and in Russian segment for the other experiments.

The scientific programme has been performed onboard the ISS by Frank De Winne and the Russian cosmonauts. They were also subjects for the life science experiments. The 21 in-flight experiments were implemented by ESA and the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office, in compliance with the applicable Technical Specifications. ESA and Belgian Federal Science Policy Office have also developed and manufactured hardware for the experiments.

Experience Domain PI
Vitamin D Life Science Belgium
Rho Signaling Life Science Belgium
Ramiros Life Science Belgium
Message Microbiology Belgium
Cardiocog Human Physiology France, Belgium
Card-Rhytm Human Physiology Belgium
Card-Respi Human Physiology Belgium
Card-Stress Human Physiology Belgium, France
Neurocog Human Physiology Belgium, France
Sympatho Human Physiology Denmark
Virus Human Physiology USA
Sleep Human Physiology USA
Chromosomes Human Physiology Germany
DCCO Fluid Science Belgium
Zeogrid Material Science Belgium
Nanoslab Material Science Belgium
GCF Material Science Belgium
PROMISS Material Science Belgium
COSMIC Material Science Belgium
LSO Earth Science France
Video Education Belgium
ARISS Education Belgium