The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is on track to launch TerraSAR-X, an Earth observation mission using synthetic aperture radar in the next few weeks, and is now finalising a sophisticated 'ground segment' infrastructure that will support the satellite, or space segment, for mission control and data distribution.
A key part of the ground segment is the Mission Control System, and DLR has adopted SCOS-2000 (Spacecraft Operating System 2000) software, developed at the European Space Operations Centre (ESA/ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany. SCOS-2000 is available to European industrial and agency partners under an open-source licensing scheme and is helping foster profitable business opportunities.
So-called 'open-source' software is gaining wide popularity for Internet and enterprise applications, and requires that the source code be distributed freely so long as the licensee also agrees to make any modifications or improvements freely available to others.
This has the effect of making all subsequent improvements freely available to the entire community of users, who need pay only for support and maintenance provided by industrial contractors; the improved source code itself remains free.
High-resolution radar images of planet Earth
Circling the Earth in a polar orbit at an altitude of 514 km, TerraSAR-X will collect high-quality X-band radar data of the entire planet. The satellite will operate independent of weather conditions, cloud coverage and illumination, and will be capable of delivering data at a resolution of up to 1 metre.
Using SCOS-2000, TerraSAR-X will be controlled from the German Space Operations Centre, located at DLR's Oberpfaffenhofen facility near Munich.
Open-source model provides business opportunities
Under the open-source licensing scheme, ESA's SCOS-2000 software is available to European industry who can offer the product for free in combination with value-added installation, support and maintenance services.
"We hope that other SCOS-2000 users will have as much success as DLR. ESA's open-source licensing model provides strong business potential for European system integrators, which benefits everyone in the space community," says Nestor Peccia, Head of ESOC's Data Systems Infrastructure Division.
DLR previously used ESA's SCOS software for the center's CHAMP (CHAllenging Minisatellite Payload) mission, launched in 2000, which is still in operation.
"We started work on TerraSAR-X with SCOS-2000 in 2003. In 2005, we upgraded to the latest version, which is the version still in use. We are now testing the final upgrades and corrections," says Michael Schmidhuber, member of the DLR ground segment implementation team in Oberpfaffenhofen.
"A very positive aspect of SCOS-2000 is the possibility to provide feedback to the ESA development team. In this way, several improvements devised by DLR have found their way into the core product," says Schmidhuber.
For TerraSAR-X, Siemens AG Austria is providing comprehensive support to DLR as the industrial partner for SCOS-2000 maintenance and ongoing support. Under the open-source software model, the industrial partner provides key support for improving and validating software.
"Surprisingly, we found many bugs in the SCOS-2000 software. These were fixed mainly by Siemens Austria. It seems not all features are used - or are used differently - by ESA missions and so many bugs remain undetected. Now, we have a stable version for our mission," says Martin Wickler, the project implementation manager at DLR.
These improvements will be reflected in future releases of SCOS-2000, thus strengthening the overall product and proving the value of the open-source model.
ESA software supports unique public-private partnership
TerraSAR-X will be launched with joint funding from both the public and private sectors. As contractor, DLR is responsible for management of the entire project and, together with DLR research institutes, will pay 80 percent of the satellite's cost; EADS Space, a European private space enterprise, built the satellite and is financing the remaining 20 percent.
Use of the mission's data by the science community will be coordinated by DLR's German Remote Sensing Data Center, while Infoterra GmbH (Co. Ltd.), a subsidiary of EADS Space, will develop geoinformation products and will market the data commercially. In this way both commercial and scientific users will share access to the available observation time.
Nestor Peccia | alfa
The TU Ilmenau develops tomorrow’s chip technology today
27.04.2017 | Technische Universität Ilmenau
Five developments for improved data exploitation
19.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
27.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
27.04.2017 | Materials Sciences