GIScience excursion to European Space Agency (ESA)

Recently the GIScience Research Group at Heidelberg University visited the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, which serves as the main mission control centre for the European Space Agency (ESA) . The Centre is responsible for a range of activities and in particular operating planetary and solar missions, such as Mars Express and Rosetta, or astronomy & fundamental physics missions, such as Gaia and XMM Newton, and of course Earth observation missions such as CryoSat2 and Swarm .
Our tour was guided by Dr. Gerlinde Gehrig. We were fascinated by a hollywood level film which introduces all the missions and the future of the ESA. Then we visited operation centers for Mars Express, Rosetta Mission, CryoSat, GOCE and Sentinel while the scientists were working there. We also had a chance to sit in the VIP room where people could observe the living video of satellite launching from the main control room. In addition, we saw many satellite models and a Ariane 5 model.
It was an exciting trip, especially for some of us who had processed the data from the Earth Observation Satellite Missions at ESA.
After the excursion, the trip participates had dinner in a Chinese restaurant in Heidelberg. “Everything was perfect, the buffet in particular!” so was the day summarized by most participants.