Press Release

SSC’s Telescience Communication System Supports Experiments on Foton-12

By SpaceRef Editor
May 31, 2005
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SSC’s Telescience Communication System Supports Experiments on Foton-12

The Russian spacecraft Foton-M2 was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan today at 12.00 UTC. The spacecraft carries a communication system, called Telescience Support Unit, which has been developed by the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) for the European Space Agency (ESA) to handle some of the experiments onboard.

Four and a half hours after launch, at 18.38 UTC, the staff at SSC’s control station at Esrange happily announced that they had established contact with the experiments and that everything works as planned.

The communication system, which has been developed at SSC’s engineering centre in Solna, Sweden, will provide scientists with data and images during the mission. It also enables the users to re-configure their experiments if needed.

The European Foton-M2 mission carries 39 experiments for research in microgravity. SSC’s Telescience Support Unit (TSU) handles five experiments in the fields of fluid physics, chemistry and technological science.

The control station at Esrange will have four to five contacts daily with the spacecraft, each pass lasting about five minutes. Besides SSC’s staff, some twenty scientists will be present at Esrange during most of the two weeks mission.

The retrievable capsule will finally land in a desert area of a Russian territory, close to the Kazakhstan border.

“Our onboard and ground-based systems in this project have their technical roots in the Swedish satellite projects Freja, Astrid and Odin. This is a good example of how knowledge derived from national projects can be used in an international context”, says Stefan Lundin, project manager for SSC’s contribution to the Foton-M2 mission.

This is the third time SSC delivers a data communication system to a Foton spacecraft. The first flight was onboard Foton 12 in 1999. The second flight, on Foton-M1, was scheduled for 2002 but unfortunately, the launcher exploded after lift-off and the Foton capsule was destroyed.

For more information, please contact project manager Stefan Lundin, tel +46 980 72148, or Sven Grahn, VP Corporate Communications and Technology, +46 70 344 38 44.

Read more about TSU and Foton M2

SpaceRef staff editor.