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European satellite control centre of the future unveiled in Darmstadt

(30 November 2018 - EUMETSAT) Europe’s most modern satellite control centre has been unveiled at the Darmstadt headquarters of EUMETSAT, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites.

The completely refurbished Geostationary Mission Control Centre incorporates the latest technology to provide a more flexible, energy-efficient and secure workplace that is also more dynamic and productive for spacecraft and ground segment controllers.

Head of the Digital Society Directorate-General in the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Dr Tobias Miethaner, officially opened the control centre today.

EUMETSAT Head of Flight Operations Mike Williams said the new virtualised architecture of the control centre offers a degree of flexibility not possible with old technology.

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The recently refurbished EUMETSAT Geostationary Mission Control Centre in Darmstadt, Germany (courtesy: EUMETSAT)

“Any screen in the new control centre can be used to monitor any ground segment facility, such as, for example, the back-up control centre at Fucino, Italy, if required,” Williams said.

“Previously, each screen was fixed to each ground segment facility and controllers would move to the screen they needed. Now, the screen can be moved to them.”

EUMETSAT Head of Strategy, Communication and International Relations Paul Counet said the new control centre was a crucial part of a significant upgrade being undertaken by EUMETSAT to prepare for major new programmes.

“The Geostationary Mission Control Centre is now equipped to control the current fleet of four Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) satellites, as well as the upcoming Meteosat Third Generation (MTG), which will start to be deployed from 2021,” Counet said.

“More satellites will be controlled from the same space.

“The Mission Control Centre upgrade is part of a wider upgrading of EUMETSAT’s ground segment, as we prepare for the deployment of the next generation of our geostationary and low Earth orbit satellites and to operate more Sentinel satellites on behalf of the European Commission in the future.

“The new EUMETSAT Meteosat and Metop satellites, with payloads containing new and next-generation instruments that will produce a vastly increased amount of data for users, will herald a new era of operational meteorology and climate monitoring.

“The National Meteorological and Hydrological Services in EUMETSAT’s 30 Member States are preparing now to use this data in nowcasting and numerical weather prediction – complex computer modelling of the weather.”

All weather forecasts throughout Europe depend heavily on the data from EUMETSAT’s satellites.

Counet said work has begun on an upgrade of EUMETSAT’s Low Earth Orbit Mission Control Centre, with work expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2020.