J10.3 The Operational Adoption of the European Ground System Common Core at ESA

Thursday, 14 January 2016: 11:30 AM
Room 252/254 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Anthony Walsh, European Space Agency/European Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, Germany; and M. Pecchioli

The European Ground System Common Core (EGS-CC) initiative, undertaken as a formal collaboration of ESA, European National Agencies and European Prime Industry since year 2011, is materialising in a concrete product. The EGS-CC is a core implementation which can be adapted and extended to support the execution of pre- and post-launch Monitoring and Control operations, thus forming the basis for Electrical Ground Support Equipment and Mission Control Systems of future European space projects.

Several generations of generic control systems have been developed and operationally used to support pre- and post-launch operations of ESA missions. The scope of the generic implementation has progressively been expanded and has now reached a level which goes beyond the functional boundaries of the EGS-CC. In order to adopt the EGS-CC as the core for the future generation of the ground data systems infrastructure at ESA, a process has been established which will entail a significant engineering effort to address fundamental trade-off issues such as:

- Re-use of legacy software versus homogeneous implementation; - External interfaces backwards compatibility versus adoption of EGS-CC data and operations model; - Operational maturity versus innovation and modernisation.

A number of principles have already been established and agreed with the main stakeholders to drive the progressive replacement of the existing infrastructure and minimise the associated risk. The impact of the EGS-CC adoption will be significant in many areas and shall be seen as an opportunity to rethink some of the fundamental aspects of the current generation systems. In particular, it is important to highlight the impact that the adoption of the EGS-CC will have on the governance of the ground data systems infrastructure at ESA. The core implementation will originate from a product which, although managed under the leadership of ESA, will nonetheless have to be handled by the developers of the new generation monitoring and control systems infrastructure, as a third party product. The architectural paradigm of the EGS-CC will also introduce significant elements of novelty in the design of pre- and post-launch ground data systems. The main challenge will of course be to gain the credibility of the future mission project and operations managers, in order to overcome their natural reluctance to adopt new solutions which have not been proven end-to-end in previous equivalent missions.

This paper will introduce the main technical and programmatic aspects of the ESA projects aiming at the development of the future generation EGS-CC based mission control infrastructure. It will focus on the challenges and the trade-offs that this activity will face and the principles which are going to be adopted in order to mitigate the associated risks, with particular emphasis to the need of ensuring a smooth phase-over from the current to the next generation of the monitoring and control infrastructure.

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