Payload Telescience Operations Centre
The Payload Telescience Operations Centre (PTOC) of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is located at CSA headquarters in Longueuil, Quebec.
Scientists and engineers use this facility to support astronauts as they conduct Canadian science experiments on board the International Space Station (ISS).
The role of scientists and engineers on Earth
The team at the PTOC is generally composed of three people:
- the mission manager
- the operations engineer
- the mission scientist
They are often assisted by visiting researchers from all over Canada.
From the PTOC, the team on the ground:
- communicates with NASA's Payload Operations Center in Alabama and other control centres around the globe
- supports Canadian science on the ISS in real time
- oversees and controls scientific experiments
- receives data from the Station
- communicates directly with the astronauts on the Station to assist them when necessary
How ISS science is supported from Earth
When an astronaut participates in Canadian science on board the Space Station, the support team on Earth:
- reviews the process before the activities take place on board.
- simulates the sequence of operations to ensure that all systems are working properly.
- simulates problems or "
bugs" that could occur during the experiment, so that everyone is ready to react in case of unexpected events.
- supports the astronauts during the real event.
This procedure ensures the achievement of all scientific objectives.
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