Beagle 2 Control Centre announced

Press Release From: British National Space Centre
Posted: Tuesday, April 15, 2003

The National Space Science Centre in Leicester has been chosen as the mission control centre for Beagle 2. A control centre is being set up to manage communications with the British-built lander, once it arrives at Mars.

Some of the controls will be carried out by scientists and engineers in the Lander Operations Control Centre at Leicester. They will calibrate a ground test model of the probe before sending commands to the real thing via the main spacecraft, Mars Express.

The Beagle 2 project is being led from the Open University by Professor Colin Pillinger in partnership with the University of Leicester and Astrium UK.

Professor Alan Wells, Director of Space Research at both the University of Leicester and National Space Centre, said: "The University of Leicester has been sending scientific instruments into space for over 30 years and controlling our spacecraft from Earth.

"The idea to operate a space mission in full view of the visiting public to the National Space Centre is something that Colin Pillinger and I have been planning for, ever since Beagle 2 was conceived.

"Nasa (the US space agency) has never done this. We are breaking new ground in the public presentation of space science."

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