Heinz Zourek and Dr Paul Weissenberg, Director General and Director for Space, respectively, in the European Union's DG Enterprise and Industry, visited ESA's ESOC Establishment today to receive briefings on current activities and meet senior managers.
The visitors were in Darmstadt to visit ESOC, ESA's European Space Operations Centre, and EUMETSAT, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites.
Gaele Winters, ESA's Director for Operations and Infrastructure and Head of Establishment at ESOC, met the guests and guided them on a tour of the centre's satellite control facilities.
Later, they were briefed by senior managers on recent activities at the centre, including the operation of the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) satellite, which was launched on 17 March 2009 and is controlled from ESOC.
The visit also included discussion of joint ESA-EU activities involving ESOC, which include GMES/Copernicus, the Galileo satellite navigation system and the new Space Situational Awareness programme.
ESOC: Europe's 'Gateway to Space'
In 2007, ESOC celebrated its 40th anniversary. In the past four decades, 56 ESA missions and 57 non-ESA missions have been successfully supported from Darmstadt.
ESOC also serves as the European control centre for the Agency's ESTRACK network of ground tracking stations, a global system with nine core stations located in Europe, Australia and South America, as well as partner stations in Africa and above the Arctic Circle.