Federal Centre for Complexity and Exobiology

About COEX









Belgian User Support and Operation Centre (B-USOC)

Address: AvenueCirculaire 3, b1180 Brussels, Belgium
Contact persons: Jacques Wisemberg:
Didier Moreau:


The Belgian User and Operation Centre was founded in February 1997. It exists as a seperate unit within the offices of the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB). The B.USOC is directed jointly by the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office and the BIRA-IASB.

The main role of the Belgian User Support and Operation Centre is to promote space research programmes and flight opportunities to Belgian scientific community in universities and federal institutes. Subsequently, it provides support to scientists concerning the definition, the development and the operation of their experiments conducted in the different space research fields: microgravity, earth sciences, space sciences and space technology.

The past two years, the B-USOC, as part of the European Space Agency (ESA) Decentralized Ground Segment Infrastructure, managed telescience and operational aspects in four space missions: the OdISSea mission to the International Space Station by using a Russian Soyuz Taxi-flight, performed by Belgium (Federal Science Policy Office) with the support of ESA (October-November 2002), the 15 days STS-107 Shuttle mission (January 2003), the CERVANTES mission to the ISS, a Russian Soyuz Taxi-flight performed by Spain (October 2003), and a 30 days ESA-NASA mission onboard the ISS (February-March 2004).

In those missions, B-USOC implemented and maintained, in collaboration with ESA and NASA, a dedicated ground segment for operations in order to link together all centres involved via international communication networks, and to manage several types of data interfaces (Telemetry, Command, Video, and Voice). B-USOC also collected all ground segment requirements from the Belgian users community and allowed Belgian User Home Bases to connect to the missions ground infrastructure.
Research Projects

(1) The International Space Station (ISS) is the largest space programme that has ever been undertaken on the basis of international cooperation (United States, Russia, Japan, Canada and Europe). Within the framework of this programme, Europe is in charge of the Columbus Module. More particularly, the Belgian User Support and Operation Centre will be:

(2) Afterwards, as a potential continuation of the ISS Solar scientific program, the PICARD microsatellite mission will provide simultaneous measurements of the solar diameter, differential rotation and solar constant to investigate the nature of their relations and variabilities. The PICARD's system will use most of the basic components of the CNES microsatellite product line. To the exception of the attitude control system, the microsatellite platform for PICARD is very similar to that of DEMETER. The PICARD mission center (CMP) will be located at the Royal Meteorology Institute of Belgium and operated by the B-USOC. This center will be mainly dedicated to the in orbit operations of the payloads and to the supply of calibrated data and preliminary scientific results to scientists.

(3) As soon as it was created, the B-USOC has been given the mission of coordinating and supporting space research (in the following fields: Earth sciences, Microgravity, Space sciences and space technology). During the last steering committee and in agreement with the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office, this mission was fulfilled with the function of creating virtual research poles gathering researchers who are working in similar and complementary research fields. This specific activity has among others allowed the B-USOC coordinating cell to establish continuous contacts with the Belgian scientific community in order to assist the latter in the working out and the completion of their programs and scientific experiments.


Other (Public outreach, conferences, equipments ...)

The function is aimed at Belgian scientists involved in space research. This function means more particularly to keep scientists and Belgian industries, politicians and even the general public informed via the website about the publications, the organization of PR events on the occasion of missions with significant Belgian contribution.

Direct collaboration with the B.USOC scientific support persons who are in charge of the different fields concerning space research. The unit gathers and/or creates the material necessary for PR activities (pictures, videos, booklets, posters, website, cd-roms,…).

A detailed list of realizations by the BISA/B-USOC communication cell is given here.


Design by B-USOC


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