Lander Operations Manager: Cinzia Fantinati
The MUSC in Cologne houses the Lander Control Center (LCC). Supported by their scientific partner (SONC) at CNES in Toulouse, the PHILAE team at LCC is responsible for the control and operation of the Lander. Commands are sent from the LCC to the European control center ESOC in Darmstadt, from where they are forwarded to the new ESA Deep Space Ground Station in New Norcia (Australia) which then transmits them to ROSETTA. Given the distance of ROSETTA from Earth, signal propagation delays can exceed one hour (one direction). Reception of telemetry happens in reverse order. The operations team, engineers and scientists monitor and analyse data from their instruments through the MUSC-provided data systems and control mechanisms. Following a successful and precise launch from the European space port in Kourou, French Guyana on 2nd March 2004, the first years of the mission are dominated by intense testing: Subsystems and experiments of both the orbiter as well as the lander are checked and their flight characteristics determined.
The Lander Control Center hosts further facilities supporting operations of the Lander. A functionally identical ground model of Philae allows for the testing of planned function sequences and verification of automated procedures. A complex software simulator of the Lander can simulate specific system states and provides the engineers with an opportunity to optimise software configurations for scientific experiment operations on the comet.