Lander Control Centre
Europe`s comet chaser
Mission Rosetta

The Philae Lander Control Centre in Cologne

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  • Kontrollraum des Nutzerzentrums für Weltraumexperimente (MUSC)
    DLR control room in Cologne

    From the control room of the MUSC facility, the engineers and scientists will carry out the operation of comet lander Philae. The lander is being carried on board the European spacecraft Rosetta.

The Microgravity User Support Center (MUSC) that DLR operates in Cologne is home to the control centre for the Philae lander, designed for the Rosetta mission. The Philae team is responsible for controlling and operating the lander, supported by the scientific partner organisation, the Science Operations and Navigation Center, SONC, at the French Space Agency, CNES, in Toulouse.

Commands issued in the control centre in Cologne are sent to the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt. From there, they are transmitted to Rosetta via the ESA ground stations in New Norcia (Australia) or Malargüe (Argentina); the signal travel time (in one direction) is approximately 30 minutes. Data reception is the reverse of this process.

During the course of the Rosetta mission, MUSC, its data systems and control equipment will provide information to the control team, engineers and scientists, who will follow and analyse the data from their instruments.

The control centre accommodates further systems used to operate the lander. Sequence tests and the verification of automatic procedures are performed using a functionally identical ground model of Philae. A complex software simulator for the lander permits the replication of its individual system modes, allowing engineers to optimise software configurations for the scientific experiments on the comet.

Last modified:
07/12/2018 16:07:59



Dr Stephan Ulamec
German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Microgravity User Support Center (MUSC), Space Operations and Astronaut Training

Tel.: +49 2203 601-4567
Elke Heinemann
German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Public Affairs and Communications

Tel.: +49 2203 601-2867

Fax: +49 2203 601-3249