Earlier in the morning, all of the students of the 2nd batch for European Master Course in Aeronautics & Space Technology (EuMAS) assembled at Technische Universitat Munchen (TUM) before continuing the class trip to the German Aerospac Center at Oberpfaffenhofen. To read the news about this, you can go directly to ESA(HERE) and EuMAS(HERE) webpage.
The German Space Operations Center (GCOS), operated by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) has an impressive track record with many years of invaluable experience. GSOC has been responsible for operating spacecraft for more than 35 years, playing a key role in countless manned and unmanned missions.
In recent years, the emphasis has switched to the preparation and implementation of Earth observation missions. Since the year 2000 GSOC has launched and operated the CHAMP, BIRD and two GRACE satellites, while the TerraSAR-X and SAR-Lupe projects (with five satellites) are currently at the preparation stage. (info from HERE)
Upon arriving to the place, we were given a simple briefing about Thomas Reiter.
Some interesting facts about Thomas Reiter is that :-
- Reiter has logged just over 350 days in space, the most by any non-American or non-Russian.
- It was during the Euromir 95 mission that he had the change to travel to space for the first time. At 179 days it was ESA's longest manned spaceflight mission.
- In 2006 he traveled to space for a second time: Thomas Reiter became the first long-stay European on the ISS.
=- left pic: Thomas Reiter & I, he's handsome isn't he? -=
What a superb track record huh?. Now, that's someone who is really reliable to be called as an "astronaut" instead of a space travelers who did an unknown experiment with unknown result that was unpublished anywhere on earth but being awarded the term "astronaut"; and then after that was sponsored to celebrate his mass wedding party...OK, I know you get what I mean
We were given the chance to witness how they operates and the roles played by DLR in any spacecraft missions. During a wide variety of manned and unmanned missions, DLR is responsible for:
- controlling and monitoring spacecraft, their sub-systems and on-board experiments
- communication between spacecraft, ground stations and control centers
- tracking and calculating flight and orbital paths
- planning and executing corrections to flight and orbital paths
- receiving, processing, distributing and evaluating data
- mission planning, i.e. planning the sequence of operations on board and on the ground
=- tengah posing pon boley ngantuk ke?-=
After that, 3 of my classmates (Jerry, Tika & Vishal) have been given the chance to enter the control room and speaks directly with Thomas Reiter who at that time is in the ISS. Those 3 were selected as their questions were picked by the DLR committee as the best questions to ask to Thomas Reiter. Therefore, all of us had the chance to witness the video conference and to see by ourselves how it looks like when 'flying' in a space craft. Enjoy the videos of the in-flight call as I posted below.
After that, a lecture was presented to us by Professor Dr. Gregor Morfill on the Plasma Experiment (PK3 Plus), which is currently being performed as part of the Astrolab Mission on board the Space Station. The ASTROLAB mission was performed between June and December 2006 where Thomas Reiter spent 6 months on the space station to perform Flight Engineer(FE) duties and to execute an articulated European multi-disciplinary research programme. As an FE, Reiter undertook several vital tasks on the ISS that could cover the use of systems and procedures for: ISS guidance and control, environmental control and life support systems, crew health and safety, and EVA operations to name a few. You can see further details of this ASTROLAB mission HERE(click).
=- me at the ISS control center (without camera flash) -=
=- me at the ISS control center (with camera flash) -=
Nevertheless, I have truly appreciate this once in a lifetime experience that I've gained during the video conference session with Astronaut Thomas Reiter. I would prefer meeting Thomas Reiter again in the future
Pssssttt : If ever there will be 2nd Malaysian to be sent to the outer space, I really hope that someone with the background in Aerospace Engineering will be selected instead of selecting someone to be a space travelers who did an unknown experiment with unknown result that was unpublished anywhere on earth but being awarded the term "astronaut"; and then after that was sponsored to celebrate his mass wedding party...OK, I know you get what I mean
Disclaimer: some of the reader of this entry and my previous entry might have an impression that I don't like that 'astronaut'. I have nothing particular to hate or like about him, I'm expressing my thought just as how I look on the situation. My opinion might be different with others as Allah created each and everyone uniquely. No heart feeling to his DIE HARD FAN or to anyone related to him.(oh, why am I bother explaining this, I pun don't know huhuhu)