The User Support and Operation Centres, USOCs, are responsible for running and implementing European payloads on the International Space Station. These centres are located throughout Europe.
On behalf of Station users and under ESA management, USOCs prepare and operate facilities for experiments on the Station. The User Support and Operation Centres link scientists and the Space Station, and are focal points for preparing and operating ESA payloads.
Before new experiments are launched, USOCs develop procedures to optimise and calibrate payloads and experiments, and support training astronauts.
The User Support and Operation Centres interact with the scientists by providing them with data on the experiments, receiving and processing requests for scheduling experiments and providing information and instructions for the experiments being run.
Although each User Support and Operation Centre has a different role depending on the technical and operational responsibilities assigned to them, all USOCs act as information centres for their users. They identify potential clients and familiarise them with the possibilities that the International Space Station provides for scientific and commercial use.