Enabling space ground segment control systems to evolve is important in order to avoid obsolescence. In this whitepaper, authors from RHEA Group explain how this can be facilitated for a control system based on the European Ground Segment Common Core (EGS-CC) – an initiative of the European Space Agency (ESA), European prime industry and national space agencies with the objective of developing and promoting a new generation of ground systems.

Abstract introduction

At some point in time, software has to evolve as the technologies it is based on become obsolete. This is especially relevant in mission operations, where development times are long and there is a need for operational continuity. The problem when migrating to a new control system from an operations point of view is not only the necessary retesting and a steep learning curve for the team but also an intrinsic loss of knowledge that can come with such a change.

Operational concerns

Operations preparation is much more than defining the necessary artefacts in terms of telecommands and telemetry. The biggest part of the team’s work is to prepare operations procedures – for flight control and contingency recovery. These procedures are the knowledge base of the spacecraft Flight Operations Plan (FOP), exercised in simulations, and this experience is ported from or shared between missions and teams.

The generation of these procedures and their validation take up a large part of the mission control team’s time. Existing procedures are therefore re-used whenever possible. This paper describes how the Mission Model Editor (MME) – an Editor for the EGS-CC TDM data – and a Procedure Management Environment (PME) facilitate such a radical replacement of a control system, in this case for mission transitioning from a SCOS2000 MCS to an EGS-CC one.