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Space experiment support and operations

The Belgian User Support and Operation Centre (B.USOC), hosted at BIRA-IASB since its creation in 1999, aims to provide engineering and operational support to Belgian scientists in the preparation, implementation and exploitation of their experiments/mission, regardless of the space research field.

As part of the Belgian contribution to the International Space Station, the B.USOC is also an ESA Facility Responsible Centre for payloads on board the Columbus module, currently:

  • external Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM)
  • pressurized Fluid Science Laboratory (FSL)

For those facilities, B.USOC is in charge of:

  • preparation and execution of the operations
  • tele-commanding and monitoring of the experiments
  • data transfer to the scientists
Severe weather phenomenon above thunderstorms
We are proud to present a new introductory film, in which the Royal Belgian Institute is being presented in all its facets. Discover the many fields of research and societal challenges in which the Institute is active.
Dr. Ir. Ann Carine Vandaele is the new Director General o the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy.
Thanks to the outstanding science in catching upper-atmosphere electrical discharges such as red sprites or blue jets, ESA agreed to relocate the ASIM payload instead of removing and trashing it.
On March 1, astronaut Andreas Morgensen will be replacing experiments during his mission aboard the ISS. He will be working on the third installation of the "Compacted Granulars" experiment in the Fluid Science Laboratory. He will be assisted by operators from the Belgian User Support and Operations Centre (B.USOC).
No more PASTA for Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, who will be the eighth astronaut to manipulate the Soft Matter Dynamics Container (SMD) and replace the PASTA experiment cells with those from FOAM-C.
The Space Pole in Uccle opens its doors to the public on September 24 and 25, 2022.
On June 22, 2022, our Institute will be hosting a networking event for space science and industry partners. This "Technology for Aeronomy" event aims to allow all participants to explore opportunities for collaborations in future space and Earth-based missions.
On Monday February 28, 2022, a new experiment on emulsions called PASTA will be installed on the International Space Station under the guidance of the Belgian control centre B.USOC.
On January 10, the lightning and thunder hunter ASIM will be relocated during a careful robotic activity, lasting about 4 hours. The robotic arm Canadarm2 anchored on the International Space Station will achieve this relocation under the scrutiny of the Belgian operations team (B.USOC) at BIRA-IASB.
On June 11, ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet will be installing sample cells for a new experiment, FOAM-C, for the Belgian space control centre (B.USOC) on board the International Space Station.
Belgian space control centre (B.USOC) operators are wrapping up the RUBI-X mission, and coordinating the switch with the upcoming SMD experiment on board the ISS.
On Novembre 20, 1998, the first module of the Inernational Space Station was launched into orbit, to be assembled in space over the following years.
On March 6, American astronaut Jessica Meir will be replacing experiments within the Fluid Science Laboratory (FSL) rack in the European module on-board the International Space Station (ISS).
The SOLAR instrument will dive back to Earth on Monday, January 13 2020 to burn up in the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean.
Interview on RTBF JT News from B.USOC, about the Starliner test flight for NASA.
The Multiscale Boiling (or RUBI) experiment is a fluid science experiment addressing the fundamentals of the boiling of fluids.
The ‘Comet Interceptor’ has been selected as ESA’s new fast-class mission in its Cosmic Vision Programme. Comprising three spacecraft, it will be the first to visit a truly pristine comet.
Precise measurement of the solar spectrum outside the atmosphere and its variability.
The Danish ASIM experiment was installed on the outside of the European Columbus module of the ISS.