During the night of 3 October 2018, the German-French Lander MASCOT will land on asteroid Ryugu – a big day for the numerous space engineers in Telespazio VEGA Deutschland, who, ever since 2011, have invested a great deal of commitment into the DLR/CNES mission. They will be supporting the real-time mission operations of the German Aerospace Centre (DLR). The Telespazio VEGA Deutschland employees are particularly proud of the many systems that they have contributed to MASCOT, ranging from the procurement of the On-Board Computer, the development of the On-Board Software and a simulator, used for testing.

MASCOT Mission Operations

Ever since 2014, Telespazio VEGA Deutschland has been supporting the Flight Control Team at MUSC (Microgravity User Support Centre) of DLR in MASCOT operations. The service team has been part of the launch preparations, the launch – on board of the Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa2 -, different Health Checks during its journey to the asteroid as well as of the commissioning phase. They will be also supporting real-time mission operations at DLR during the asteroid landing and on-asteroid operations. One colleague located in Japan will, together with the DLR MASCOT System Engineer, act as interface between the Satellite Control Centre of the Japanese Space Agency JAXA and the DLR Lander Control Centre in Cologne, Germany. Both will be sharing the responsibility of communicating between Japan and Germany during operations.

On-Board Software

The Systems Engineering Team of Telespazio VEGA Deutschland has developed the MASCOT On-Board Software for DLR. The development team worked in close collaboration with the MASCOT Systems team, the operations team, the providers of subsystems and scientists in order to determine and implement the requirements of the software. The On-Board Software defines, among others, how the collected data are processed, compressed, stored and sent to its mother probe Hayabusa2. It also allows the lander to take measurements autonomously.


In order to complete its mission, MASCOT depends on a robust and reliable hardware, which is resilient towards contingencies and performs to a high standard to process scientific data quickly. At the same time, the hardware has to be very small and light.

Telespazio VEGA Deutschland was part of a consortium that translated these high system requirements, such as mass, dimensions, interfaces, redundancy and processor performance, into realistic hardware specifications. They also considered the necessary robustness of the hardware towards external influences during the launch, the four-year journey to the asteroid and its landing.

Virtual Model of the Lander

2012 marked the year in which Telespazio VEGA Deutschland started the development of the Software Development & Validation Facility (SDVF) for DLR. The SDVF is a virtual model of the lander and comprises the on-board computer as well as all instruments, equipment models, systems, communication links and data links of MASCOT.

The SDVF was used, for example, to test the On-Board Software. It served also for test scenarios where hardware elements that were not available yet were replaced with simulated models. Using special hardware interface cards, the team performed also functional, performance and stability tests while the On-Board Computer was still under development (hardware-in-the-loop). The DLR Team in Bremen, that built the MASCOT Lander, used the SDVF to test several hardware subsystems.


The German-French Lander MASCOT (Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout), on board Hayabusa2, was developed and built by the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) in close collaboration with the French Space Agency (Centre National d'Études Spatiales). It was launched on 30 November 2014 on board the Japanese (JAXA) spacecraft Hayabusa2 (HY2) from Tanegashima Space Centre. It is being controlled from the DLR MASCOT Lander Control Centre in Cologne, Germany. On 3 October 2018, the lander will be deployed onto the asteroid Ryugu where it will perform in-situ measurements. They will help us to broaden our knowledge about the origins of our solar system.

Witness the #asteroidlanding

DLR is providing updates on the landing of MASCOT on a dedicated website. For more insights follow MASCOT on Twitter.