With most European states in lockdown because of COVID-19, ESA has continued to operate its space missions. Scientific, exploration, Earth observation, climate and technology testbed satellites are continuing to produce data and provide vital services.
Since early March, the majority of the workforce at ESA’s European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) mission control in Darmstadt, Germany, have been working from home. But despite the constraints this involves, mission controllers have overseen complex manoeuvres and procedures. These have included testing a laser space communications system, space debris avoidance manoeuvres, a dramatic Earth flyby and even recovering a spacecraft after it experienced a major power failure.
This video includes Skype interviews with mission controllers in their home offices, ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes and smartphone footage shot in the empty corridors of ESOC.