ESA names LogicaCMG to build satellite ground station

LONDON, 6 Feb. 2006. LogicaCMG today announces that it has been selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop the mission control software for ESA's Aeolus wind mapping satellite.

LONDON, 6 Feb. 2006. LogicaCMG today announces that it has been selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop the mission control software for ESA's Aeolus wind mapping satellite.

The Earth Explorer Atmospheric Dynamics Mission (ADM-Aeolus) will provide global observations of wind profiles from space to improve the quality of weather forecasts, and to advance our understanding of atmospheric dynamics and climate processes.

The aim of the ADM-Aeolus mission is to further our knowledge of the Earth's atmosphere and weather systems. By recording and monitoring the weather in different parts of the world, ADM-Aeolus will allow scientists to build complex models of our environment, which can then be used to help predict how that environment will behave in the future. These predictions will be useful in the short-term, since they can be applied to Numerical Weather Prediction in order to make forecasts more accurate.

The ADM-Aeolus mission will thus improve our knowledge of all sorts of weather phenomena, from global warming to the effects of pollution. ADM-Aeolus will fly in a rather low Sun-synchronous orbit of 400 km and will always be in the dusk or dawn position. The wind will be measured at 90 degrees to the satellite ground track on the night side of the Earth.

Speaking at an international symposium in June, Gaele Winters, ESA's director of operations and infrastructure said "Cost reduction and increased efficiency in ground segment developments and mission operation remain key factors for future mission support."

Winters cited ESA's decision to develop common and reusable components of the ground segment which can be used to support a large variety of space missions; SCOS-2000, the generic spacecraft monitoring and control infrastructure is a highly successful example of ESA's common infrastructure approach.

On the same day, LogicaCMG also announces the successful deployment of a new generation of ground control software, which will make future operations of Europe's largest scientific satellite, XMM-Newton, more cost effective.

"Reducing costs and increasing efficiency are important not only for ESA but also for agencies worldwide," added ESA's Paolo Maldari, the symposium Chairman. The XMM-Newton mission is currently approved until 2010 and the spacecraft has fuel to fly for at least another decade, so an upgrade to the ground control system was regarded as essential to minimize long-term maintenance costs.

Referring to the successful completion of the LogicaCMG XMM-Newton work, ESA's XMM-Newton mission manager, Fred Jansen, said: "In my opinion this has been an excellent, highly successful achievement made possible by working together as one team and delivering high quality from this hard work. In successfully upgrading not only the mission control system which controls the satellite, but also the scientific payload monitoring and product generation facility which controls the science outputs such as X-ray images, we have demonstrated that ESA's SCOS-2000 system, designed as a mission control system, is also highly efficient as a mission payload monitoring facility. The new system will provide XMM-Newton with a healthy baseline for what I expect to be a very long future."

XMM-Newton is detecting more X-ray sources than any previous satellite and is helping to solve many cosmic mysteries of the violent Universe, from what happens in and around black holes to the formation of galaxies in the early Universe. Launched at the end of 1999, it is designed and built to return data for at least a decade. It is the biggest science satellite ever built in Europe. Its telescope mirrors are the most sensitive ever developed in the world, and with its sensitive detectors, it sees much more than any previous X-ray satellite.

Michael Jones, head of ESOC's mission data systems division said: "The mission control systems for the Earth Explorer missions have benefited enormously from ESA's investments over the past decade in SCOS-2000, ESA's generic mission control technology. This is emphasised for Aeolus, which also builds on the experience from the previous missions in the family. We are confident in LogicaCMG's mastery of this technology, since earlier this year, the company was given responsibility for the development of the next major release of SCOS-2000."

Commenting on the Aeolus award, Simon O'Leary, manager of satellite control developments at LogicaCMG, said: "We have been involved with mission-critical components of many of ESA's environmental satellites in the past, including Envisat and GOCE, and we are delighted to have been selected to help make a success of the exciting and innovative Aeolus mission. The development of the original XMM-Newton control centre was one of LogicaCMG's most important projects in the 1990s. The enhancement project further strengthens our long-term relationship with ESA and will ensure the system continues to support Europe's X-ray astronomers well into the next decade."

The European Space Agency is Europe's gateway to space. Its mission is to shape the development of Europe's space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe. ESA has 17 Member States. By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, it can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country. For more information, see www.esa.int.

LogicaCMG is a major international force in IT services and wireless telecoms. It provides management and IT consultancy, systems integration and outsourcing services to clients across diverse markets including telecoms, financial services, energy and utilities, industry, distribution and transport and the public sector. The company employs around 30,000 staff in offices across 36 countries and has more than 40 years of experience in IT services. Headquartered in Europe, LogicaCMG is listed on both the London and Amsterdam stock exchanges. For more information, see www.logicacmg.com/uk.

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