Communication Network & Control Room (CNC)

The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) large-scale CNC (Communication Network & Control Room) facility is used to monitor and control satellites, and prepare and carry out mission operations. At the same time, it supports various space missions (multi-mission operations). The CNC covers the entire communication network infrastructure as well as the complete data line network for the transmission and storage of spaceflight mission data. The electronic processing of telemetry, telecommand, tracking and even image data (data transfer only) from the ground stations to the control rooms and vice versa is performed by the DLR German Space Operations Center (GSOC).

Scientific as well as commercial and safety-related missions are flown from the CNC, and it is also used to operate the Columbus laboratory on the International Space Station (ISS). For some missions, only operations in the launch and early orbit phase (LEOP) are carried out in the CNC. But for most missions, especially those of a scientific nature, the CNC also oversees routine operations. Examples of LEOP-only operations include the EUTELSAT W series of satellites and the Hispasat-36W-1 mission. Examples of LEOP and routine operations include the CHAMP, GRACE, TerraSAR-X, TanDEM-X and FireBIRD scientific missions. The CNC is configured in each case according to the mission requirements.

One stand-out feature is the multi-mission environment. In multi-mission operations, the various projects are combined into a single operating environment based on common systems and tools.

CNC has a high level of availability and is safeguarded against failures thanks to its end-to-end redundancy concept, whereby operations can continue without interruption even if important components fail.


Volker Speelmann

Head of Research Infrastructures
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Executive Board department for Innovation, Transfer and Research Infrastructure
Linder Höhe, 51147 Cologne

Enrique Knorr

German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Space Operations and Astronaut Training
Communications and Ground Stations
Münchner Straße 20, Oberpfaffenhofen-Wessling