The Norwegian User Support and Operations Centre (N-USOC) is one of nine European control centres for European Space Agency’s payload and science operations on the International Space Station (ISS). These USOCs are located in Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Norway (in Trondheim), Spain and Switzerland.
Under the overall management of ESA, the European User Support and Operations Centres (USOCs) act as the link between the scientific user communities and ESA's Columbus Control Centre (Col-CC) in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, NASA's Payload Operations Integration Center (POIC) in Huntsville, Alabama, and the Russian Mission Control Centre in Moscow. Columbus is ESA’s own module and Europes laboratory at ISS.
During the pre-launch phase, the USOCs are concerned with activities such as ground model operations, experiment-procedure development, payload and experiment optimisation and calibration and support to crew training activities.
During the in-orbit payload operations, the USOCs receive facility and experiment data and perform, in coordination with Col-CC and POIC, the operations of the payloads for which they are responsible.
The USOCs are also responsible for the interaction with the scientists in disseminating experiment data to them, and receiving and processing requests for experiment scheduling and direct commanding
The mission of N-USOC is to provide qualified support to the ISS microgravity research activities in general. Specifically, N-USOC is the responsible for two payloads in the Columbus module: the European Modular Cultivation System (EMCS) and Vessel ID System.
As Facility Responsible Centre (FRC) for these two research facilities, N-USOC is an important contributor during development of new experiments that will require the use of these facilities. N-USOC is also responsible for the integration of new experiments in the overall ESA and ISS planning. Remote operations of these facilities and ongoing experiments are performed by the N-USOC control centre, where all the telemetry is received and commands can be sent to each facility.
N-USOC provides the facility users, who are part of scientific communities at universities or research and industry establishments, with data from the experiments. In addition, N-USOC provides the communication and data processing infrastructure needed to allow real-time monitoring and control of the experiments.
The lead industrial partner for EMCS is EADS Astrium. For Vessel ID System, N-USOCs main partner is the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI).
The ESA financed N-USOC project is one of the projects at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Space, CIRiS. CIRiS is part of NTNU Samfunnsforskning AS (NTNU Social Research) and is situated at the Plantbiocentre and Samfunnshuset close to the University campus at Dragvoll in Trondheim.
CIRiS staff, from left:
Liz Helena Coelho, Øyvind Mejdell Johansen, Ann Iren Kittang, Knut Fossum, Tore Martin Hauan, Mona Schiefloe, Irene Karoliussen, Carina Helle Berg, Karl Eric Hancock, Brit-Eli Danielsen