Mission history

This list comprises all spacecraft that have been operated from ESOC, Darmstadt, Germany, since its inauguration on 8 September 1967 until today (see note below on how this number was calculated).

ESOC Mission History
Name Purpose Launch date Note Mission duration
1 ESRO-2B Science 17.05.1968 - 3 years
2 ESRO-1A Science 03.10.1968 - 2 years
3 HEOS-A1 Science 05.12.1968 - 7 years
4 ESRO-1B Science 01.10.1969 - 2 months
5 HEOS-A2 Science 31.01.1972 - 2 years
6 TD-1A Science 12.03.1972 - 2 years
7 ESRO-4 Science 22.11.1972 - 2 years
8 ANS Science 30.08.1974 Netherlands Space Agency - UV, X-ray observatory 1 year, 8 months
9 COS-B Science 09.08.1975 - 7 years
10 GEOS-1 Science 20.04.1977 - 5 years
11 ISEE-2 Science 22.10.1977 Operated from NASA/GSFC 10 years
12 Meteosat-1 Weather 23.11.1977 - 8 years
13 IUE Science 26.01.1978 Operated from ESAC, joint w/NASA 18 years
14 OTS-2 Telecom 11.05.1978 - 13 years
15 GEOS-2 Science 14.07.1978 - 6 years
16 Meteosat-2 Weather 19.06.1981 - 10 years
17 Marecs-A Telecom 20.12.1981 - 14 years, 9 months
18 Exosat Science 26.05.1983 - 3 years
19 ECS-1 Telecom 16.06.1983 Operated from Redu 13 years, 6 months
20 ECS-2 Telecom 04.08.1984 Operated from Redu 9 years
21 Marecs-B2 Telecom 10.11.1984 - 7 years
22 Giotto Science 02.07.1985 - 7 years
23 ECS-4 Telecom 16.09.1987 Operated from Redu 15 years, 3 months
24 Meteosat-3 (P2) Weather 15.06.1988 - 7 years
25 ECS-5 Telecom 21.07.1988 Operated from Redu 12 years
26 Meteosat-4 (MOP-1) Weather 06.03.1989 First in Meteosat Operational Programme (MOP) 6 years
27 Olympus Telecom 12.07.1989 LEOP only -
28 Hipparcos Science 08.08.1989 - 4 years
29 Ulysses Science 06.10.1990 Operated by ESA from JPL 18 years
30 Italsat F1 Telecom 15.01.1991 LEOP only - Italy's first operational communications satellite -
31 Meteosat-5 (MOP-2) Weather 02.03.1991 - 15 years, 11 months
32 ERS-1 Earth observation 17.07.1991 Complete 5 years
33 Eureca - deployment Microgravity 31.07.1992 Deployed from Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-46 11 months
- Eureca - retrieval Microgravity 01.07.1993 Retrieved by Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-57
34 Meteosat-6 (MOP-3) Weather 20.11.1993 - -
35 ERS-2 Earth observation 21.04.1995 Complete 16 years
36 ISO Science 17.11.1995 LEOP only - operated from ESAC -
37 Italsat F2 Telecom 08.08.1996 LEOP only -
38 Meteosat-7 (MTP) Weather 02.09.1997 LEOP only - operated by EUMETSAT -
- Huygens launch Science 15.10.1997 Launch on Cassini for cruise to Saturn -
39 Teamsat Technology demo 30.10.1997 Joint with ESTEC 5 days
40 XMM Science 10.12.1999 - Ongoing
41-42 Cluster-II Science 16.07.2000 Satellites 2 & 3 Ongoing
43-44 Cluster-II Science 09.08.2000 Satellites 1 & 4 Ongoing
45 Envisat Earth observation 01.03.2002 Complete 09.05.2012 9 years, 10 months
46 MSG-1 Weather 29.08.2002 Meteosat Second Generation: LEOP only - operated by EUMETSAT -
47 Integral Science 17.10.2002 - Ongoing
48 Mars Express Science 02.06.2003 - Ongoing
49 SMART-1 Science 27.09.2003 Demonstrate electric-ion propulsion & lunar science 2 years, 11 months
50 Rosetta Science 02.03.2004 Philae comet landing 12.11.2014 12 years, 11 months
- Huygens landing Science 14.01.2005 Launch 15.10.97 - Separation from Cassini 25.12.04 - Titan landing 14.01.05  -
51 Venus Express Science 09.11.2005 Mission complete - data analysis continues 9 years
52 MSG-2 Weather 21.12.2005 LEOP only - operated by EUMETSAT -
53 MetOp-A Weather 19.10.2006 LEOP only - operated by EUMETSAT -
54 GOCE Earth observation 17.03.2009 Electric-ion propulsion -
55 Herschel Science 14.05.2009 Orbit at L2 -
56 Planck Science 14.05.2009 Orbit at L2 -
57 CryoSat Earth observation 08.04.2010 Ice mission Ongoing
58 MSG-3 Weather 05.07.2012 LEOP only - operated by EUMETSAT -
59 Metop-B Weather 17.09.2012 LEOP only - operated by EUMETSAT -
60-62 SWARM Earth observation 22.11.2013 Trio studying Earth's magnetic field Ongoing
63 Gaia Observatory 19.12.2013 Billion-star surveyor Ongoing
64 Sentinel-1A Earth observation 03.04.2014 First Copernicus mission Ongoing
65-66 Galileo FOC G5 & G6 Navigation 22.08.2014 LEOP by joint ESOC/CNES team from ESOC -
- Philae landing Science 12.11.2014 Launch 02.03.2004 - Separation from Rosetta & Comet 67P landing 12.11.2014 -
67 Sentinel-2A Earth observation 23.06.2015 Second Copernicus mission Ongoing
68 MSG-4 Weather 15.07.2015 LEOP only - operated by EUMETSAT -
69-70 Galileo FOC G9 & G10 Navigation 11.09.2015 LEOP by joint ESOC/CNES team from ESOC -
71 LISA Pathfinder Technology demo/Science 03.12.2015 Demonstrate technology for observing gravitational waves 594 days
72 Sentinel-3A Earth observation 16.02.2016 Third Copernicus mission/handover to Eumetsat after commissioning -
73 ExoMars/TGO Science & data relay 14.03.2016 First ExoMars mission - investigating Martian atmosphere. Orbit entry 19.10.2016 Ongoing
74 Sentinel-1B Earth observation 25.04.2016 Joined its identical twin, Sentinel-1A, in orbit to deliver radar data for Copernicus Ongoing
75-76 Galileo FOC G13 & G14 Navigation 24.05.2016 LEOP by joint ESOC/CNES team from ESOC -
- Schiaparelli landing Technology demonstration 16.10.2016 Separation from ExoMars/TGO; Mars surface impact 19.10.2016 3 days
77 Sentinel-2B Earth observation 07.03.2017 Fourth Copernicus mission Ongoing
78 Sentinel-5P Earth observation 13.10.2017 Fifth Copernicus mission Ongoing
 

Notes

  1. To arrive at the total indicated in the table, we counted all spacecraft that were operated for (a) their LEOP, or (b) for their LEOP followed by routine operations through to end of life, from ESOC. We exclude (a) spacecraft that failed (e.g. Cluster I, CryoSat 1) and (b) landers.
  2. For a full list of all missions conducted by ESA, which includes missions not controlled from ESOC, access: Our Missions.
  3. ESA's Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV), which conducted a sub-orbital test flight in 2015, was supported by teams deployed from ESOC to the ALTEC control centre, Turin, and on board ship. 
  4. Eureca's deployment and retrieval are counted as one, despite the fact that both operations required full planning, training & simulation campaigns.
  5. In the past decades, numerous other missions operated from locations other than ESOC have been supported by personnel from ESOC, e.g. Ariane launches are supported by Estrack's Santa Maria station, while ATV missions were supported by operations specialists dispatched from ESOC to the ATV Control Centre, Toulouse.
  6. ESOC facilities were lent to the Netherlands Space Agency for their mission, the Astronomical Netherlands Satellite (ANS), launched on 30 August 1974 from the Western Test Range in California. This mission was a concerted effort involving teams at ESOC and the ANS team; it was also the first non-ESRO satellite controlled from ESOC and ESOC's first experience with a satellite equipped with an on-board computer. 
  7. Dates indicated correspond to GMT. 
  8. ESA's Proba-1, -2 and -V satellites are controlled by ESA's Operations team from Redu. 
  9. The initial set of Galileo dual-launch LEOPs were conducted alternately from ESOC and CNES Toulouse by a joint ESA/CNES mission team. The LEOPs listed above were done at ESOC; additionally, Galileo LEOPs for In-Orbit Validation (IOV) satellites G1 & G2 and GS & G4 were done at CST, as were the LEOPs for Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellites G7 & G8 and G11 & G12. 
 

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