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Martin S.,European Space Agency | Steele P.,European Space Agency | De Frescheville F.B.,European Space Agency | Sarkarati M.,European Space Agency | And 5 more authors.
Proceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC

Most exploration roadmaps are calling for demonstrating operational scenarios including robot/rover control from orbiters around other heavenly bodies. The Multi-Purpose End-To-End Robotic Operations Network METERON aims to demonstrate operations, communications and robotic concepts and technologies in preparation for future human exploration missions. OPSCOM-1, the first METERON experiment, was performed by ESA in October 2012 as a feasibility assessment of some communications aspects needed for future experiments. During OPSCOM-1, the ISS crew followed a procedure to send instructions through a Graphical User Interface (GUI) on a laptop on the ISS configured for METERON to a simple rover located at the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany. Feedback for these instructions and the position of the rover were automatically gathered in files that were verified and transferred to the GUI on the ISS by manual ground commands of ground operators at the Belgian User Support Operations Centre, which was in charge of operations related to the ISS. Crew commands were sent to the rover using the Disruption Tolerant Network (DTN) protocol and feedback from the rover used the standard Telemetry and Telecommand path. The communications concept was successfully demonstrated during OPSCOM-1. Thanks to the extensive preparation activities prior to the experiment and the dedication of the OPSCOM-1 team (ground and ISS) during the experiment itself, all objectives were achieved successfully. Time latency between commands sent by the crew through the GUI and the movement, position and picture feedback of the command to the crew was between 3 and 5 minutes. OPSCOM-1 demonstrated that the DTN protocol can be used in telerobotics activities and the operational aspects of moving a rover from the ISS have been validated. Limitations of the uplink channel to the ISS led to long waiting times for the crew to receive feedback to their actions. These limitations should not apply anymore for future tests. The next METERON experiment, OPSCOM-2, will demonstrate the full functionality of "packet custodiancy". This DTN feature should guarantee that no telemetry/telecommands are lost during transport. Source

Pierrard V.,Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy | Pierrard V.,Catholic University of Louvain | Lopez Rosson G.,Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy | Borremans K.,Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy | And 28 more authors.
Space Science Reviews

The Energetic Particle Telescope (EPT) is a new compact and modular ionizing particle spectrometer that was launched on 7 May 2013 to a LEO polar orbit at an altitude of 820 km onboard the ESA satellite PROBA-V. First results show electron, proton and helium ion fluxes in the South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA) and at high latitudes, with high flux increases during SEP (Solar Energetic Particles) events and geomagnetic storms. These observations help to improve the understanding of generation and loss processes associated to the Van Allen radiation belts. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Source

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