Sunday, September 9, 2007


These last days, I have been to Darmstadt, Germany, for a professional visit to ESOC, the European Space Operations Centre. I didn't plan to go to this place, but Friday last week I came to know that an association within ESTEC called Young ESA was organizing a visit to our colleagues in Germany. The train tickets were paid and we were sleeping in the houses of people from ESOC. Therefore, I decided to join!

The trip to go there was long (5 hours 40 minutes) but there was a cafeteria in the train and we spent most of the time there talking to friends and drinking some beers. Once in Darmstadt, we met our hosts in the train station and went to a mexican restaurant and to a club later.

Next morning, we visited ESOC. We listened to some interesting presentations about the work carried out in this ESA site and visited the main places of the site. In general, ESOC looks so much smaller than ESTEC!

In spite of its size, ESOC has one of the coolest places in the Agency: the main control room from where the launch and early operations of satellites and probes are supervised. Yesterday, there was no lauch and we could walk in freely!

Then, we visited other control rooms for remote sensing satellites and for interplanetary missions and could see these guys' job is really different from ours.

After lunch, I visited my host's building and after taking some souvenirs we left ESOC. This is the building where Juan, my host, works.

And this is us:

Finally, we visited the city in a special guided tour for us and then came back to Leiden by train. In the train, we created the club of the Thirsty Travellers and as in the outbound train, we spent most of the time in the cafe...

It was a short, intense, nice visit! Very good innitiative from Young ESA! I hope there are many more like this.


JorgeSS said...

Hey TT mate!
Very interesting trip to ESOC. It's reassuring knowing that someone is taking care of the satellites we develop and test in ESTEC! ;-)
Can't wait to see the rest of the pictures!

Alvaro said...

Don't worry! I will bring along the rest of the pictures to ESTEC tomorrow and share them ;-)