The teams behind Cluster
The ESA Cluster science team, led by the project scientist at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC, Noordwijk, the Netherlands) is in charge of coordinating the input of the different PIs in order to maximise the scientific return of the mission.
The Cluster team at the Joint Science Operations Centre (JSOC), located at RAL (UK), generates the payload operation plan and translates it into a set of telecommands, to be uplinked to the spacecraft. This activity is performed in coordination with the PI teams and ESA's European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) located in Darmstadt (Germany). The JSOC also monitor the accuracy of the models used to generate predicted planning data, as well as disseminating planning information.
The Cluster team at ESOC operates the Cluster satellites on a daily basis. Crucial work has been performed at ESOC, in particular to optimise the fuel consumption on each Cluster platform, to prolong the lifetime of the Cluster mission and therefore enhanced its scientific return. In the long run, it seems obvious that the experience gained in operating this complex mission will be an asset for future ESA multi-spacecraft missions.