Control Rooms

The control rooms of the German Space Operations Center (GSOC) can be found at the DLR’s Oberpfaffenhofen site near Munich. Currently there are 11 Mission Control Rooms, the System Control Area as well as the offices of the control center staff. Scientific, commercial and security relevant missions are controlled out of these control rooms. Additionally the Columbus Lab of the International Space Station is operated from here. For some of the missions only the operations in the Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) are performed by the teams in the control center, for other missions, in particular for scientific missions also the long-lasting (up to 15 years) routine operations are done from here. Examples are the EUTELSAT missions (only LEOP) or the scientific missions CHAMP and GRACE (LEOP and routine operations). The control rooms are configured according to the mission requirements.

Control Room K1

 Control room K1
zum Bild Control room K1

Control Room K1 is the biggest control room operated in the German Space Operations Center. Because of its size and outfitting it is mainly used for the demanding LEOPs. Besides GSOC’s subsystem engineers also the experts from the Industry Support Team can monitor mission progress and spacecraft behavior in the control room at the consoles. They support the GSOC operations teams in the critical phase of a mission. Since early 2009 Control Room K1 is used for the LEOPs of the communication satellite mission SATCOMBw.

Control Room K2

 Control room K2
zum Bild Control room K2

Control room K2 is currently used for the preparation of the LEOP of the TanDEM-X mission. After the launch of TerraSAR-X in June 2007 TanDEM-X is the second satellite of this series of radar earth observation satellites. After completion of the LEOP and the In-Orbit Tests this satellite will also be transferred to and controlled by GSOC’s multimission operations team.

Control Rooms K3, K4, K11

 Control room K4
zum Bild Control room K4
 Control room K3
zum Bild Control room K3

These Control Rooms represent the central part of the Columbus Control Center that was inaugurated in October 2004. They are used for the operations of the European Columbus module of the International Space Station ISS. Operations are performed from one of the two control rooms, the other one is used for tests, training and simulations. Like this a continuous adaptation caused by new requirements is possible. Since the launch of Columbus on 7 February 2008 the operational Control Room (mainly K4) is in use at any time, 24 hours a day, 7 seven days a week with a minimum of 4 Flight Controllers who work in three shifts. They share the tasks of the Columbus Control Center, namely the monitoring and control of the Columbus Lab as well as coordination of the operations of the scientific experiments. In special mission phases and during normal office hours they are complemented by another 4-5 experts in that room, like the EUROCOM who is authorized to directly speak with the astronauts on board the ISS.

Another smaller third control room (K11) in a separate building is also available for back-up operations, tests and simulations.

Control Room K5

This small Control Room (K5) is prepared and configured for Back-Up support. Out of this room the necessary safety operations can be taken over from other control center with a pre-warning time of 1 day. As an example the 5 satellites of the SAR-Lupe mission which have been placed into orbit since 2006. After LEOP they were handed over to a dedicated control center.

Control Room K6

Another Control Room (K6) is used for the integration of mission operations systems of new satellite projects (e.g. TET-1).

Control Rooms K7, K8

In Control Rooms K7 and K8 the routine operations of the SATCOMBw mission are performed. Around the clock, a special dedicated Flight Operations Team monitor and controls two geostationary communication satellites.

Control Room K9

 Control room K9
zum Bild Control room K9

Control Room K9 hosts the multimission environment of the German Space Operations Center. Out of this room all scientific earth observation missions of GSOC (CHAMP, BIRD, GRACE 1 & GRACE 2 and TerraSAR-X) are controlled in routine operations phase. In the multimission operations several projects with similar scenarios are comprised in one operations area which is based on common systems and tools. Each member of the multimission operations team is in the position to monitor and control each of the satellites. This ensures a maximum exchange of experience and maximum operations reliability through support by mission specific satellite subsystem experts.

Control Room K10

The European Proximity Operations Simulator (EPOS, modernized in 2009) is controlled out of Control Room K10.

Control Rooms K12-14

In 2010 the refurbishment of three additional Control Rooms is planned, K12 for the Asteroid finder mission, K13 for small geostationary communication satellites and K14 for the new On-Orbit Servicing missions.

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Columbus (
TerraSAR-X (
SAR-Lupe (
BIRD - Bispectral InfraRed Detector (
CHAMP - CHAllenging Minisatellite Payload (
EUTELSAT W (W2,W3,W4,W1R,HB6,W5) (
GRACE - Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment (