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Ames Research Center Joins Space Operations Committee-at-Large

The International Committee on Technical Interchange for Space Mission Operations and Ground Data Systems (hereafter referred to as “SpaceOps”) was established to foster continuous technical interchange on all aspects of space mission operations and ground data systems, and to promote and maintain an international community of space operations experts from agencies, academic institutions, operators, and industry. Ames Research Center has successfully designed, built, and flown a number of spacecraft, both small and large, dating back to Pioneer in the 1960s. In recent years, Ames has flown small spacecraft missions, like GeneSat and PharmaSat, as well as full-scale spacecraft, such as LCROSS, Kepler, and the upcoming LADEE and IRIS missions. In addition, Ames also supports operation of ISS and STS payloads and science instrumentation, such as SPHERES and TROPI.

Given Ames’ strong involvement in mission operations, an invitation was extended to Ames by SpaceOps Executive Committee member Phil Liebrecht (NASA HQ) to apply for membership on the SpaceOps Committee-at-Large. Joan Differding presented the Ames application for membership at the May 31st meeting of the SpaceOps Committee in Stockholm, Sweden. On June 2nd, the SpaceOps Executive Committee unanimously approved the application. Going forward, Joan will serve as the Ames Research Center representative and, as a member of the committee, will participate in planning and organizing future SpaceOps conferences.

BACKGROUND: The development and operations of ground systems used to control space missions have become increasingly important components of space exploration and utilization. Ground system capabilities and limitations often have as much effect on mission return as flight systems. Thus, mission operations have become an increasingly larger segment of space agency budgets. As a result, there is great interest in improving the capabilities and cost efficiency of ground systems and related mission operations.

SpaceOps is a spacecraft operations-oriented international association consisting of representatives from most of the space-faring institutions. SpaceOps was founded in 1990 to foster continuous technical interchange on all aspects of space mission operations and ground data systems, and to promote and maintain an international community of space operations experts. The SpaceOps Conference is a technical forum for the space operations community that addresses state-of-the art operations principles, methods, and tools. The event has been held biennially since 1990 and attracts technologists, scientists, managers, and experts from space agencies, industry, and academia. SpaceOps fosters managerial and technical interchange on all aspects of space mission operations, including robotics, human, Earth-orbiting, and deep space operations.

The activities of SpaceOps are accomplished by two related committees: a Committee-at-Large and an Executive Committee. Most of the work of SpaceOps is undertaken by the Committee-at-Large, while the Executive Committee presides as the decision-making body. The following space agencies are executive members of SpaceOps:

  • ASI: Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (Italy)
  • CNES: Centre National d'Etudes Spatiale (France)
  • CSA: Canadian Space Agency (Canada)
  • DLR: Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (Germany)
  • ESA: European Space Agency (Europe)
  • EUMETSAT: European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (Europe)
  • INPE: Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (Brazil)
  • ISRO: Indian Space Research Organization (India)
  • JAXA: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Japan)
  • KARI: Korean Aerospace Research Institute (South Korea)
  • NASA: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (USA)
  • NOAA: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (USA)

The NASA subcommittee on the SpaceOps Committee-at-Large is composed of representatives of NASA centers active in space mission operations, including Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), Johnson Space Center (JSC), the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and now, Ames Research Center (ARC).

COLLABORATORS: Joan Differding, John Schreiner, Jay Trimble, William Clancey, Jeremy Frank, Robert Dumais, and Dave Korsmeyer

Contact: Joan Differding

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