The ESA Executive has adopted the decentralized scheme for the utilization of European payloads on-board the ISS. Under the overall management of ESA, the European User Support and Operations Centers will carry out the majority of tasks related to preparation for and the in-flight operation of multi-user facilities. These activities will be conducted by use of already existing national centers. This approach makes the USOCs instrumental in the implementation of the ISS ground segment for preparation, real-time data dissemination and provision of instantaneous experiment command processing. The USOCs will act as the link between the user community and the ISS utilization. With ten discipline oriented USOCs distributed over Europe, it is ensured that focal points for the preparation and conduct of ESA payload operations are created which are both very close to the payload operations on-board the ISS and the scientific user groups.
An Experiment Support Center (ESC) is delegated the responsibility for single experiments either as self standing experiments utilizing experiment specific equipment or as individual experiment performed in a facility. The ESC is mainly focussing on science and experiment operational matters.
A Facility Support Center (FSC) is delegated the responsibility for a sub-rack payload or an instrument in a payload. An FSC will perform the operations of the assigned sub-rack payload.
The Facility Responsible Center (FRC) is delegated the overall responsibility for a payload. Its functions focus on payload system aspects and are related to all phases of payload operations, i.e. pre-flight activities, in-flight operations and post-flight activities.
MUSC is the assigned Facility Responsible Center (FRC) for Material Science Lab (MSL), BIOLAB and Matroshka and Facility Support Center (FSC) for the Cardiolab.
BIOTESC - BioTEchnology Support Centre
The BIOTESC from ETH Space Biology Group, Zurich, Switzerland, offers a deep understanding of biotechnological processes, including the supporting infrastructure and manpower. This group can offer expertise and techniques related to mammalian cell cultivation and yeast cultivation in biorectors, gained in long-term involvement in these fields.
Personnel of the Space Biology Group have been involved in cell biology research in space (a total of 25 flight experiments) since 1977. These flight experiments include STS-8, Spacelab-1, D1, SLS-1, IML-1, IML-2, STS-76/SSM-3, STS81/SSM-5, and the Mir missions 7, 8 and 9. Five more flight projects are in preparation for Biopack (STS-107 and subsequent missions) and Maser 9. The technological know-how includes experience in the development of space-qualified instrumentation (e.g. an incubator for Spacelab-1, bioreactors for Biorack in IML-1, IML-2, SSM-3 and for Biopack in STS-107).
Current projects in biotechnology include the development of a bioreactor for cell culture for STS-107/Biopack, a Microgravity Application Programme (MAP) project on Tissue engineering, and the Gradient Bioreactor System.
BIOTESC is assigned Facility Support Centre for Biolab.
B-USOC - Belgian User Support and Operations Centre
The Belgian User Support and Operations Centre is located on the premises of the Space Pool in Uccle, Brussels, Belgium. A consequent number of experiments/facilities have already been prepared and operated with the support of the B-USOC in conjunction with User Home Bases located at universities or institutes.
The main task of the B-USOC is to provide information on space research programmes and flight opportunities to scientists, and to provide technical advice to scientists involved in space research.
The B-USOC provides technical and operational support during the development and the operations of space experiments. All of the activities of the B-USOC are accomplished in different space research domains: microgravity, Earth observation, space sciences and space technology.
The accumulated experience of the B-USOC covers the support and performance of space missions and facilities since 1992, and include: EURECA (SOVA, ORA and SGF); IML-2 (BDPU); Atlas-2 and Atlas-3 (SOLCON and SOLSPEC); EuroMIR 94, 95/96 (CSK-1); RMS (2-Rip and TITUS); MIR 95 (MIRAS); LMS (BDPU); Neurolab (ALFE); and SpaceHab 98 (BIOBOX/HUDERM, BIOBOX/MARROW,and AGHF-2).
A number of other future space missions will be technically and/or operationally supported by the B-USOC, such as upcoming STS missions (e.g. 105 and 107), Foton, Maser, ACE, and Sciamachy.
The B-USOC will also be the Mission Centre for the PICARD satellite mission.
In the frame of the ISS Project, the B-USOC will be:
- A partner in the operation of the Facility Responsible Centre (FRC) for the European Drawer Rack (EDR) at the Erasmus User Centre, at ESA ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands;
- The Facility Support Centre (FSC) for the Protein Crystallisation Diagnostics Facility (PCDF);
- A Facility Responsible Centre (FRC) for the SOLAR experiment (e.g. SOLSPEC, SOL-ACES and SOVIM) on the Columbus External Payload Facility.
CADMOS - Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales - French Space Agency
The CADMOS centre was created in 1993 at CNES in Toulouse, in order to support all French manned flights performed onboard MIR or Shuttle spacecraft.
More than 20 years of experience has lead to the craetion of a very large operational team at the CNES Toulouse Space Centre. Inside CNES, CADMOS is the dedicated centre for the preparation, validation and operation of scientific and technical experiments which need a microgravity environment.
CADMOS is built around a Main Control Room and a large laboratory area, and it is foreseen to improve this configuration for use as a USOC for the International Space Station (ISS).
The experience of the Microgravity CNES teams which became CADMOS, include PVH onboard Salyut 7; 51G on Discovery in 1985; six French MIR missions, one LMS mission, and one French mission on-board the ISS from 1988 to 2001. These missions are those for which CNES/CADMOS has been involved in all aspects of preparation and realisation of the payloads, together with the missions themselves.
The main scientific fields covered by CADMOS during manned space missions cover physiology, biology, neuroscience, fluids, materials, electronic components, structure mechanics, etc. In the period prior to launch of the European Physiology Modules (EPM) multi-user facility with the Columbus Laboratory, CADMOS will be the Facility Support Centre (FSC) to NASA for the Handgrip Dynamometer, MARES and PEMS payloads.
CADMOS is the assigned Facility Responsible Centre (FRC) for the European Physiology Modules (EPM) and Materials Sciences Laboratory/SQF payloads. CADMOS will also operate the DECLIC payload (Facility for the Study of the Growth and Fluids near Critical Point) developed by CNES in collaboration with NASA.
In support of external payloads, CADMOS is assigned as the Facility Responsible Centre (FRC) for the Atomic Clock Ensemble in Space (ACES) payload.
DAMEC - Danish Aerospace Medical Centre of Research
DAMEC was created in 1988 - the purpose of DAMEC Research A/S is to conduct and support space medical and human physiological research. A broad national and international collaboration with medical companies, medical university institutes and clinical departments has cosntituted the basic scientific and operational network for more than a decade.
The Centre had support scientists on the D-2 mission, parabolic flights, EuroMIR 95 mission, and are preparing for the support of several upcoming SPace Shuttle and International Space Station experiments.
The Centre is equipped with the necessary communication systems and infrastructure for monitoring and operation of experiments and payloads.
The USOC at the Danish Aerospace Medical Centre of Research (DAMEC Research A/S) in Copenhagen, Denmark, has (since 1988) gained extensive experience in supporting life science experiments for the microgravity reserach programme.
The USOC at DAMEC is physically intyegrated into the National Universoty Hospital, and is in close connection with many different departments, especially the Clinic of Aviation Medicine and Department of Invasive Cardiology.
During a number of past manned space missions, DAMEC provided technical and operational support to a number of human physiology research activities.
DAMEC's specific expertise lies in the field of gas analysers developed for space, ranging from the Anthrorack mass spectrometer, over the Respiratory Monitoring System II (RMS-II) for MIR, to the SpaceHab Advanced Respiratory Management System (ARMS).
It is understood that there will be a strong need for an overall coordination of the European Human physiology payloads between ESA and NASA, with contributions from the European USOCs (CADMOS and DAMEC).
In the period prior to launch of the European Physiology Modules (EPM) with the Columbus Laboratory, DAMEC will be the Facility Support Centre to NASA for the Pulmonary Function System (PFS). After the launch of EPM with Columbus Laboratory, DAMEC will be the Facility Support Centre to CADMOS for the Pulmonary Function System (PFS).
DUC - Dutch Utilisation Centre
The National Aerospace Laboratory NLR, conducts user projects through the DUC by providing support to scientists, industrial and commercial users of space platforms, such as sounding rockets, SpaceLab, and preparation for the ISS.The National Aerospace Laboratory NLR, conducts user projects through the Dutch Utilisation Centre (DUC) by providing support to scientists, industrial and commercial users of space platforms, such as sounding rockets, SpaceLab, and preparation for the ISS.
These projects are often carried out under a contract with the Netherlands Agency for Aerospace Programmes (NIVR) and ESA, in cooperation with the Space Research Organisation in the Netherlands (SRON).
DUC provides the technical, operational, administrative and promotion means for user and operations support, as well as scientific support from ground-based reserach centres and university laboratories. DUC also serves as a test-bed for further development of user operations, telescience, communication, and other technologies related to crew and user support, and as the focal point of contact within the Netherlands.
Since 1989, the DUC at NLR has been involved in activities aiming at the definition, development, implementation and operational use fo an infrastructure for user support.
Several Dutch industries and user-groups have taken part, under DUC coordination, in past missions such as IML-2.
DUC is a partner in the operation of the Facility Responsible Centre for the European Drawer Rack, at the Erasmus User Centre, at ESA ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands.
IDR/UPM - Instituto Universitario de Microgravedad "Ignacio da Riva" de la Universidad Politecnica de Madrid UPM-Spain
IDR/UPM is an institute of the Polytechnic for research in microgravity sciences and space technology.
IDR/UPM is the Spanish USOC and will act for Spanish users of any discipline as the national point of contact for activities on the ISS. Besides, it will provide the services of promotion, familiarization and information provision.
IDR/UPM was formally created as an independent institute in 1997 upon the team of the late Prof. I. da Riva, and employs presently 20 people.
Microgravity research at IDR/UPM is mainly focused in Fluid Physics. To support on ground the preparation of microgravity experiments and carry out ground based research, the center includes a Microgravity Fluid Physics Laboratory equipped with a Drop Tower (15 m height), a Plateau Tank Facility, and several smaller facilities for performing capillary driven experiments. IDR/UPM participated in several microgravity missions ranging from Spacelab, to mini- and micro-satellites, sounding rockets, parabolic flights and drop towers.
IDR/UPM has also long experience in the definition of experimental facilities, from the FPM in the 70s to the FSL in the 90s.
IDR/UPM is assigned as FSC for FSL.
The ERASMUS User Centre at ESTEC, Noordwijk, is hosting the ISS User Information Centre and User Support and Operation Centre responsible for the EDR and EuTEF Facilities. The ERASMUS USOC will benefit from the experience and existing infrastructures available at ESTEC and completed with specific tools developed with the support of Dutch national programme and of Belgian contribution trough GSTP.
The ERASMUS User and Operation Centre is supported by the B.USOC and the DUC for the operations preparation and execution.
MARS Center - Microgravity Advanced Research and Support Center
MARS is a Consortium between the University of Napoli "Federico II" and Alenia Spazio, established in 1988 to create a research centre active in microgravity Fluid Science research and support Institution to offer the necessary assistance for the preparation, execution and post-flight analysis of space experiments.
The Centre is equipped with a Fluid Science Laboratory, a computational center and a space missions (Texus 23-28-34), Maxus 1b-3, Maser 6-8, Spacelab D2, IML-2, LMS, MARS is also the Italian USOC on behalf of the Italian Space Agency (ASI) for all the Italian Facilities on-board ISS. The relevant past experience includes the participation in several microgravity missions gaining experience with most of available space platforms, ranging from Spacelab, to sounding rockets, to Russian Mir capsules and parabolic flights. User support has been provided both to Italian and Foreign Researchers: French team on Texus 28, D2-AFPM Pls and IML-2/LMS BDPU Pls, Foton 12.
MARS is assigned as FRC for FSL and FRC for the EXPORT (External Payload).