Russian space Mission Control Center

Mission Control Center (MCC) – the largest research department of FSUE TsNIImash. which in the structure of the Russian Space Agency has a key role in the management of the civil spacecraft (SC). MCC – one of the few universal centers in the world, capable of carrying out flight control at the same time about 20 manned and unmanned spacecraft and provide large-scale international projects.

Mission Control Center (MCC) M.Blinov photo

Mission Control Center (MCC) M.Blinov photo

MCC provides the practical flight control of the space vehicles for the different classes “dual-use” (non-military and military): the manned orbital complexes, the spaceships, the automatic interplanetary stations and artificial satellites of the Earth for the scientific purposes. At the same time, it leads the scientific and engineering research and development of the management techniques, ballistics and navigation, as well as engaged in the examination space projects in the direction of the works. MCC offers modern technical equipment and the latest data processing technologies.

MCC history dates back to the beginning of the space age, which was opened in the Soviet Union launched October 4, 1957 the first artificial satellite in the world (HIS) – “sputnik”. At that time there was a question on the operational processing of the information obtained by ground tracking stations on board the spacecraft. And then in the Government Federal Research Institute of number 88 (now the Central Research Institute of Mechanical Engineering of the Russian Aviation and Space Agency) began to create computer center (CC NII-88) with a view to converting it in coordinately Computing Center (ECC). October 3, 1960 was approved by the first staffing VC NII-88, and in the same month, it is taken into operation. On the VC and ballistic division of NII-88 are assigned the function of the ballistic center industry (BTS-2), which, together with the ballistic centers of the Ministry of the Defense (BC-1) and the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (BC-3) begins to participate in the provision of flight control of spacecraft (SC ). Since 1984, the Research Institute of VC-88 solves the problem of information support of the State Commission on flight-design tests of space technology, as well as the reception problem, processing and display of ballistic and telemetry information.

In 1965, NII-88 VC is converted to CEC. The list of its features include a range of works that define the process to ensure the spacecraft control.

Ballistic center, which became part of CEC, becoming head for the automatic interplanetary station ( “Venus”, “Mars”) and satellites of the national economic and scientific purposes ( “Meteor”, “Proton”, AUOS et al.), Serves as a backup BC manned programs ( “Union” ships “Salyut” station).

In 1973, to ensure the implementation of a joint pilot project with the US “Soyuz-Apollo” at the CEC created the Soviet mission control center. Since 1977, at Centre tasked with managing all domestic flights of spacecraft, the manned space and interplanetary stations. As a MCC, it has become the main link in the loop flight control long-term manned orbital complex “Salyut” – “Soyuz” – “Progress”.

For fifteen years (1986-2001 gg.) MCC worked continuously manned with the “Mir” orbital station, providing its flight control, including the final stage of the controlled descent from orbit in a given area of the Pacific Ocean.

MCC to manage all nine manned flight program “Intercosmos” and flights of international crews with the participation of the French astronauts, India, Syria, Bulgaria, Afghanistan, Japan, the UK, Austria, Germany, the European Space Agency, the United States and Slovakia.

The assets of MCC and control the automatic interplanetary station – flights to the Moon, Venus, Halley’s Comet, to Mars and its moon Phobos.

In 1987, as part of MCC actually created another control center for flight-design tests of universal space-rocket transport system (URKTS) “Energy-Buran“. At the same time we developed a unique methodology, software and technical means of receiving and processing information from the carrier rocket “Energy” in real time and implemented the first time it is started in 1987.

In 1988 here it was carried out flight control of the space shuttle “Buran“.

Since 1998, MCC has started work on the International Space Station program, and currently manages the ISS Russian Segment.

In 1999, MCC launched a spacecraft control remote sensing “Okean-O” (a joint project of Russia and Ukraine). To this end, the spacecraft control sector was established socio-economic and scientific purposes. For the first time LOCT spacecraft was formed on the basis of the MCC staff, with the participation of experts of organizations – the spacecraft and its systems developers.

In 2001, MCC launched a spacecraft control “Meteor-3M” and is currently in preparation for the management of the other satellites of socio-economic and scientific purposes, which also constitute the basis of full-time workers LOCT MCC.

While implementing international projects in the MCC working advisory group of experts from the participating countries.

In connection with the start of work on the International Space Station in the MCC works formed from the American NASA experts modules management sector. The objective of NASA specialists working in this sector, is to conduct operations to manage flight US station segment in the event of failure of the US MCC (g.Tehas).

International Space Station

International Space Station

A similar sector deployed by Russian specialists at the US Mission Control Center.

MCC is involved in the management of the flight upper stage DM-SL-rocket “Zenit-3SL (International Project” Sea Launch “).

During the flight control MCC interacts with the developers of space technologies and scientific equipment, the Cosmonaut Training Center, industry and academic research organizations, with the services of the cosmodrome, command-and-measurement and search and rescue systems, foreign organizations in the implementation of joint programs, as well as representatives mass media.

Today* MCC manages flights of the manned spacecraft “Soyuz” and cargo ships “Progress“, the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS), automatic devices of the scientific and socio-economic purposes (SC NSEN). As part of the SC group NSEN satellites opto-electronic surveillance “Resurs-P» № 1, number 2 and number 3, hydrometeorological “Electro-L» № 1 and № 2, “Canopus-B» № 1, as well as satellites multifunctional space system relaying information “Luch-5A”, “Luch-5B” and “Luch-5B”.

MCC – is the main element of the system of ground control complex automated spacecraft flight. It receives all the information from the Russian tracking stations since the launch of the spacecraft into orbit and to the end of its active life. The incoming information is processed, analyzed and used to generate control commands transmitted on board the spacecraft.

MCC at work

MCC at work

* information at the period 2010-2015, some spacecafts are no longer till 2016

Duration of the MCC tour – 1.5-2 hours (inside the excursion ) + 2X 1-1,5 hours (depends of the traffic) the transportation from/ to Moscow

Visit MCC includes also the special viewing a movie on a space theme, the impressions of which no less than after the session of “Star Wars.”

Permitted photo and video shooting (amateur- non-professional)

P.S. Recently Russian officials said that MCC is the Control Center of the Piloted Space crafts only. The Control Center of the military spacecrafts is located in Krasnoznamensk (Moscow region too), but at this moment last one is not accessible for the foreign tourists.