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Role of the Science Operations Center (SOC)


Each Instrument Team is responsible for building and operating a Science Operations Center (SOC) specific to its Instrument. SOC operations include planning, control, assessment, and verification of instrument command execution.


The RBSPICE SOC is distributed across two facilities. Science Acquisition functions are  handled at the Johns Hopkins/Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL), Space Department. Data Management and Archiving are managed at Fundamental Technologies, LLC. Data analysis is performed at both RBSPICE SOC locations.


Under the first category, Science Acquisition, the SOC is responsible for the tools and facilities that will be used for:


It is each SOC’s responsibility to provide the tools and facilities needed to complete the tasks associated with Instrument Planning, Instrument Commanding, Validation, and Science Objective Assessment.


Instrument Planning is the planning and generation of instrument data acquisition strategies and operational guidelines (Concept of Operations, abbreviated ConOps) that ensure the G-RBSP project has a method or path for meeting its science objectives. It is based on Instrument Scientist, Instrument Engineer, and Navigation Team inputs and spacecraft constraints from the MOC.


Instrument Commanding is the development of instrument commands and the translation of the observation plan into command sequences for upload to the spacecraft through the MOC.


Validation includes Instrument Validation and Instrument Quality assessment. Instrument Validation validates the executed command sequences (ensures a one-to-one correspondence between instrument command loads and data received on the ground through the SOCs) and reschedules any failed sequences necessary to fulfill the science objectives. Observation Quality is an assessment of the usability of the measurement for achieving the science objectives.


Science Objective Assessment includes the monitoring of data coverage and mission status.


Under the second category, Data Management and Archiving, the SOC is responsible for:


Operations Support provides data access, data ingestion capabilities, product generation capabilities, and data monitoring (such as coverage, quality evaluation, and sensor performance characterizations). Operations Support ensures access to the data and products by G-RBSP project personnel, especially the Science Team. It also involves the generation of a predefined set of ancillary data products used in the generation of scientific data products (such as Spacecraft, and Instrument files) in a timely manner.


Archive Generation includes the generation, validation, and delivery of the G-RBSP archive data set. The SOC is responsible for preparing the documents that describe the archive structure and data generated and produced from the RBSPICE instrument observations.

It is the responsibility of the SOC to produce all data products in the format specified by the Living With a Star Geospace Science Working Group (SWG) and deliver the data archive in accordance with the G-RBSP Mission Archive Plan.


Role of the Mission Operations Center (MOC)

The Mission Operations Center (MOC) has the ability to send or reject SOC-generated commands and send simple commands to turn the instruments on or off, but responsibility for the Instrument remains with the SOC.

Updated 12/27/19, Cameron Crane


2601 days, 10 hours, 20 minutes
Start Date: August 30, 2012, 4:05 a.m. EDT
End Date: October 14, 2019, 2:25 p.m. EDT


2511 days, 12 hours, 52 minutes
Start Date: August 30, 2012, 4:05 a.m. EDT
End Date: July 16, 2019, 4:27 p.m. EDT


Manufacturer: Johns Hopkins APL built and operates the twin Van Allen Probes spacecraft

Nominal Mission Duration: 2 years

Destination: Earth's radiation belts

Orbit: Elliptical orbits transversing the radiation belts

Science Payload: 5 instrument suites conducting related experiments