ExoMars 2020 Rover Operations Control Centre inaugurated

(30 May 2019) The ExoMars 2020 Rover Operations Control Center (ROCC) was inaugurated by Thales Alenia Space (the joint venture between Thales 67% and Leonardo 33%), ALTEC (Aerospace Logistics Technology Engineering Company), the Italian space agency ASI and the European Space Agency (ESA). It is located on the premises of ALTEC, an engineering and logistics services joint venture between Thales Alenia Space and ASI.

Developed as part of the ExoMars 2020 contract, the ROCC will control and monitor the Rover's operations. Commands will be transmitted via the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), launched on the ExoMars 2016 mission and now in orbit around Mars, and the space communications network at ESA's European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany.

Conducted by ESA in conjunction with Russian space agency Roskosmos, ExoMars 2020 will deliver a European rover and a Russian platform to the surface of Mars. A Proton rocket will launch the spacecraft, which will arrive at Mars on 19 March 2021 after a long journey. The ExoMars rover will travel across the Martian surface to search for signs of life, trying to answer questions that have long fascinated humanity. It will collect samples with a drill developed and built by Leonardo and analyse them using its own advanced built-in laboratory. ExoMars will be the first mission to combine the capabilities of moving across the surface and studying Mars in depth.

The ROCC will start operation in July 2020, when the ExoMars 2020 spacecraft lifts off for the interplanetary trip.

Reference: Thales Alenia Space PR