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DLR, ESA and Bavaria to Establish Moon Mission Control Center

Credit: DLR

Ibadan, 14 March 2024. – The German Aerospace Center (DLR), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Free State of Bavaria plan to establish the Human Exploration Control Center for future human spaceflight missions to the Moon in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. Minister-President of Bavaria Markus Söder, DLR Divisional Board Member for Space Anke Pagels-Kerp and ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher signed the Declaration of Intent on 13 March 2024 at the Bavarian State Chancellery.

The aim of the cooperation is to expand the Columbus Control Center into a Moon Mission control center and further develop the operational concepts. Likewise, the aim of the new Moon Mission Control Centre is to manage the operation of future European activities on the Moon from Europe. To this end. the parties will also invest 33 million euros in infrastructure and operational concepts for missions to the Moon.

The control center, officially known as the Human Exploration Control Center (HECC), will support astronautical missions to the moon and, above all, the European operation of the Lunar Gateway. In the long term, it will also be responsible for astronautical missions into the translunar region, for which AI-based methods are currently under development. Ultimately, the goal of the Artemis program is to prepare for a future crewed mission to Mars by first returning to the Moon.

With substantial support from the Free State of Bavaria and funding from DLR, a new building for the planned Moon Mission control center will be constructed at the DLR site in Oberpfaffenhofen in the medium term. Furthermore, ESA will bear the long-term financing of the operating costs of the Columbus Control Center and the Moon Mission Control Center.

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