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Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics

Mission Operations

Spacecraft and instrument health and safety is monitored at the Project Operations and Control Center (POCC), located at the LASP Space Technology Research Building at the University of Colorado. The OASIS-CC software package, which was developed at LASP, is used for all monitoring functions. Flight controllers also use this software to prepare and transmit commands to the spacecraft. Most of the activities during a spacecraft pass are coordinated using procedures written in CSTOL, a subsidiary language of the OASIS-CC software package. Prior to launch, the student flight controllers and flight engineers developed and tested the CSTOL procedures for both normal spacecraft operations and contingency operations. OASIS is also used for all integration and test functions.

After a pass, all of the data from the spacecraft are processed and made available to the flight engineers and instrument scientists, who monitor the long-term health of the satellite and its instruments. Any commands needed to update spacecraft operations are prepared by the flight engineers. Commands are encoded into CSTOL procedures and transferred to the flight controllers, who run the procedures to send the commands during a pass. Orbit and attitude determination is performed by specialists on the flight engineering team.

Students are involved in all aspects of mission operations. The flight controllers who monitor and control the satellite in real time and the flight engineers who analyze spacecraft performance and plan and schedule spacecraft operations are students. The LASP POCC is staffed for a single shift each day, 7 days per week, during normal working hours.

Key Mission Ops Activities


  • Develop and test mission operations software
  • Select and train students for mission operations
  • Develop manual and automated operations procedures
  • Monitor and control spacecraft during integration and final testing
  • Conduct simulations to verify readiness for launch and operations

Weekly Planning

  • Prepare operations plan and POCC staffing plan
  • Generate command loads needed to implement operations plan
  • Generate predicted ephemeris data

Pre-Pass Setup

  • Conduct pre-pass briefing
  • Verify communications
  • Set-up OASIS-CC software for pass

Real-Time Contact

  • Acquire telemetry data and verify health of the spacecraft
  • Monitor spacecraft and communications link status throughout pass
  • Command onboard processor and transmitter to initiate playback
  • Record all playback data on relay computer
  • Uplink command load


  • Conduct post-pass briefing
  • Retrieve playback data from relay computer
  • Perform Level 0 and Level 1 processing on received telemetry data
  • Generate definitive ephemeris and attitude data
  • Analyze playback engineering data to verify spacecraft health

Entire Mission

  • Conduct engineering analysis of spacecraft and instrument performance
  • Maintain science and engineering databases