Thursday, January 05, 2023

What an Astronaut Needs to Know: Flight Control, Space Weather & Debris | ESA

What an Astronaut Needs to Know: Flight Control, Space Weather & Debris | ESA

Recently, Andreas Mogensen, now getting ready for his ‘Huginn’ mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2023, stopped by the European Space Agency’s European Space Operations Center (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, to meet with experts who keep Europe's satellites flying. Andreas was the first Danish astronaut to go to space!

Astronaut Andreas Mogensen's Official ESA Biography:

Andreas usually works at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston as an ISS ‘capcom’, and we do not often see him in Europe. A few months back, while returning to Germany for some training at ESA’s Astronaut Centre in Cologne, we seized the opportunity to ask him if he would like to stop over in Darmstadt for a look behind the scenes at mission control, and he immediately answered, ‘Yes’!

Andreas’ studied aeronautical engineering with a focus on ‘guidance, navigation and control of spacecraft’ and we thought he would be delighted to meet with the teams at mission control doing precisely that sort of work for our robotic missions.

We figured he would also enjoy meeting colleagues from our Space Safety program, especially the ones working on space debris and space weather, as these are crucial areas that influence the daily life of astronauts on the ISS.

Andreas met with Bruno Sousa and Julia Schwartz, who help keep ESA's Solar Orbiter healthy and on track on its mission to gather the closest-ever images of the Sun, observe the solar wind and our Star’s polar regions, helping unravel the mysteries of the solar cycle.

He also met with Stijn Lemmens, one of the analysts keeping tabs on the space debris situation in orbit, and Melanie Heil, a scientist helping ESA understand how space weather and our active Sun can affect missions in orbit and crucial infrastructure—like power grids—on ground.

We hope you enjoy this lively and informative day at mission control as much as Andreas and the teams at ESOC did!

Credit: European Space Agency (ESA)

Duration: 20 minutes

Release Date: Jan. 3, 2023

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