December 12, 2003

Linux set for Mars landing

The control centre is ready and a big Christmas celebration is expected when, or if, the UK's most ambitious scientific project, the Beagle 2 Mars
Lander, makes landfall on Christmas Day.

In true British low-budget fashion, a single Linux-based workstation at the Lander Operations Control Centre (LOCC) is being used to send commands and
receive vital data from Beagle 2.

The diminutive LOCC, part of the new British National Space Centre (BNSC) in Leicester, is now fully operational. It has already sent the commands
that will be triggered at various times during Beagle 2's descent.

The workstation uses Spacecraft Control Operating System (SCOS) command and control software which sits on top of Linux. Two more Linux-based systems
are available as back-up.



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