GMV attends the inauguration of the Exomars Operations Control Centre

On 30 May ALTEC’s premises in Turin (Italy) hosted the official inauguration of the Rosalind Franklin Rover Operations Control Centre (ROCC). Rosalind Franklin is the name given to the rover of the ExoMars 2020 mission.

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The ROCC will be the center from which all this rover’s operations are planned, managed and run. It comprises various different systems and facilities, including the Rover Operations Control System (ROCS), which has been designed, developed, integrated and validated by GMV.

ExoMars, a joint mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos, is a two-part venture that aims to investigate the Mars environment and try out new technology for looking for traces of life and collecting Mars soil samples in the 2020s.

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The first part of the ExoMars mission consists of the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and an entry, descent and landing demonstrator module called Schiaparelli, which was successfully launched back in 2016. The second part, slated for a July 2020 launch, will include the Rosalind Franklin planetary exploration rover, which will be equipped with a soil drill and a set of astrobiological and geochemical research tools.

For this second part GMV is participating in development of the complete application software of the guidance, navigation and control (GNC) system and other subsystems (thermal system, remote-command system, guidance and control of the carrier module as well as the descent module, power system). It will also be developing the software Verification Facility (SVF) used for validating the application software.

GMV will likewise be supplying the onboard computer simulator (OBC1) and will take on responsibility for the operational software of the rover’s control center, to be run from the ALTEC facility in Turin, Italy, using the data management and control system designed and developed by GMV. It will also supply the Central Checkout System (CM-DM). 

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Leading figures present at this opening ceremony were ESA’s Director General, Jan Wörner; ESA’s Director of Human and Robotic Exploration, David Parker; the President of the Italian Space Agency, Giorgio Saccoccia; the CEO of ALTEC, Vinzenzo Giorgio and the CEO of Thales Alenia Space.

The opening of this center, which will come into operation eight months after ExoMars blasts off from Baikonur, by which time it will have completed its long interplanetary journey and critical descent onto the Oxia Planum landing site, represents a new stride forward in Europe’s first space mission to the red planet.