50 years of ESOC: Treasures from the archives

10 July 2017

Since 1975, the ESA Bulletin has been the go-to journal for anyone wishing to stay up-to-date on activities, developments and missions across all branches of ESA.

One of the first Bulletins ever published − Bulletin No. 7 from November 1976 − was devoted entirely to ESOC, the European Space Operations Centre, in Darmstadt, Germany, and focussed on how mission operations as an engineering discipline was being developed at the centre. 

In the subsequent decades, numerous editions of the ESA Bulletin carried news and articles highlighting the growing activities in Darmstadt, and, after 50 years, these form a vivid record of the development of ESOC into a 'centre of excellence' for mission control.

We are delighted to present a selection of some of the past Bulletin articles that help tell the history of mission control at ESA.

  • Bulletin 20 (Nov. 1979): Spacecraft Operations at ESOC (D.E.B. Wilkins) (pg. 4) 
  • Bulletin 29 (Feb. 1982): Operational Support Facilities for ESA Programmes (B. M. Walker) (pg. 24)
  • Bulletin 31 (Aug. 1982): Deep-Space Navigation: A New Flight Dynamics Discipline for ESA (M. Hechler & M. Rosengren) (pg. 92)
  • Bulletin 39 (Aug. 1984): Development of Spacecraft Operations at ESOC - Fifteen Years in Retrospect (D.E.B.  Wilkins) (pg. 30)
  • Bulletin 43 (Aug. 1985): The European Space Operations Centre’s New Control Centre (D. Wilkins) (pg. 24)
  • Bulletin 49 (Feb. 1987):Computer-Based Training at the European Space Operations Centre (F. Steiner) (pg. 33)
  • Bulletin 52 (Nov. 1987):Twenty Years of ESOC (H. Schramm) (pg. 38)
  • Bulletin 56 (Nov. 1988):A New Generation of Spacecraft Control System - 'SCOS' (C. Mazza and J. F. Kaufeler) (pg. 19)
  • Bulletin 68 (Nov. 1991):ESA's Future Operations System for Flight Dynamics - 'ORATOS' (F. Dreger, J. Fertig & R. Münch) (pg. 93)

The complete archive of ESA Bulletins from 1975 to today can be accessed here.

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