Spacecraft Operations Course

The next Spacecraft Operations Course will take place October 17 to 21, 2016 at the German Space Operations Center (GSOC) at Oberpfaffenhofen near Munich. The duration of the course will be five days (Monday to Friday). The course will give an introduction to spacecraft operations.

The German Space Operations Center

The German Space Operations Center (GSOC) at Oberpfaffenhofen near Munich is Germany's control center for spacecraft operations.

The control center is responsible for planning, implementing and operating all ground segment systems required for reliable and efficient spaceflight missions. This includes all relevant flight dynamics, mission planning, communications and data acquisition functions.

Our experience in spacecraft operations dates back to the late 1960s. GSOC has become one of the leading centers for space mission operations in Europe with more than 50 successful missions on its record. These missions include our current activities regarding operations of the European ISS module Columbus. In addition, we are preparing and operating a fleet of earth observation and communication satellites.

GSOC wants to share its experience with people from all areas of the space industry, public agencies and others who would like to enhance their knowledge about spacecraft operations and ground segment design. The Spacecraft Operations Course presents an integrated approach to spacecraft operations by providing insight into how the various satellite subsystems are operated and how they interact with one another. The course will be of value to a broad range of companies and organizations that are involved in the area of spaceflight, including manufacturers, users, insurers and operators.

New - Course Manual published as book

The book describes the basic concepts of spaceflight operations, for both, human and unmanned missions. It will be made available to course participants as handout material.

  • Bound Edition: 425 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; Edition: 2015 (2. September 2014)
  • Language: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 3709118026
  • ISBN-13: 978-3709118023


Through a series of lectures and hands-on trainings this course gives a detailed overview of how to plan, prepare and perform spacecraft operations. Many operational aspects are addressed including the relevant tools, procedures and the experience gained in numerous spacecraft missions at GSOC.


Course Content

The German Space Operations Center has developed this course addressing all aspects of satellite operations and corresponding ground segment design. The course is intended for a maximum number of 18 participants and is held once a year in October.

The spacecraft operations course at GSOC also serves as a supplement to the well established Space Systems Engineering Course offered by the University of Southampton which focusses on spacecraft system design. On the opening day, a lecturer from the University of Southampton will present general aspects of space environment and satellite design.

The following subjects and topics will be addressed in the GSOC Spacecraft Operations Course:

  • Flight Dynamics
    • Orbit Aspects
    • Attitude Aspects
  • Mission Planning
    • Concepts and Methods
    • Application
  • Satellite Operations
    • Project Management
    • Mission Operations, Preparation and Execution
    • Operational Aspects of Satellite Subsystems Operations
    • Telemetry, Command & Ranging and Data Handling Subsystem Operations
    • Attitude and Orbit Control Subsystem Operations
    • Propulsion Subsystem Operations
    • Power and Thermal Subsystem Operations
    • Repeater and Scientific Instruments Subsystem Operations
    • Flight Experience
    • System Aspects
  • Human Spaceflight Mission Operations
    • ISS-Columbus Operations
  • Lessons by External Partners
    • Space Environment
    • Satellite Design
    • ATV Operations
    • Interplanetary Mission Operations
  • Ground Segment
    • Ground Station Networks
    • Ground Station Design & Ops
    • Satellite Control Centre
  • On-console Trainings
    • Control Room
    • Flight Dynamics
    • Mission Planning
  • Site-Tours
    • GSOC control and system rooms
    • Weilheim Ground station
    • Galileo Control Center

Course Schedule

The course starts on Monday at 10:00 and finishes on Friday 15:00. Lectures are typically held between 09:00 and 16:00. There is a lunch break between 12:15 and 13:30. Hands-on trainings are conducted from 16:15 to 17:30. Welcome cocktail and social event are planned for Monday evening and Thursday evening, respectively.


Practical Aspects

The course language is English.

The course starts with registration and an introduction on Monday morning. Most lectures take place at the German Space Operations Center, Oberpfaffenhofen, in a designated lecture room and in GSOC control rooms. All attendees will receive a comprehensive set of course documentation. On Wednesday morning two lectures and a tour will be given at DLR's ground station located at Weilheim, 45 minutes south of Oberpfaffenhofen.

The Oberpfaffenhofen site of DLR is located approx. 25 km west of Munich, Germany. Please check the map for more details. Accommodation is available in the area around Oberpfaffenhofen or in downtown Munich. Attendees should make their own arrangements, but support is available.

Application Details

Course Fee: 1950 Euro
The course fee also includes:

  • Welcome cocktail on Monday
  • Comprehensive course documentation
  • Lunch meals at the DLR casino at Oberpfaffenhofen
  • Bus transfer between Oberpfaffenhofen and Weilheim
  • Social event (dinner)

Next course: October 05 - 09, 2015 - unfortunately only a few places left

Closing date for applications:  
(selection on a 'first come - first served' basis)
Maximum number of attendees: 18
Please contact the organizers for further information.

Organized by Florian Sellmaier & Michael Schmidhuber



Beatrice Schneider
German Aerospace Center

Space Operations and Astronaut Training

Tel: +49 8153 28-2737

Fax: +49 8153 28-1455

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