The Payload Telescience Operations Centre (PTOC)

The Payload Telescience Operations Centre (PTOC) allows the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) team to support Canadian science experiments aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The PTOC provides the team with a direct communications line to NASA's Payload Operations Center in Alabama, which makes it possible to support science on the ISS in real time.

The Canadian Space Agency's (CSA) Payload Telescience Operations Centre (PTOC). Credit: CSA

In other words, when an astronaut performs a Canadian science experiment on the ISS, the CSA's ground operations team – generally the mission manager, the operations engineer and the mission scientist – follows from the PTOC to ensure the smooth unfolding of operations. This will help ensure that all science objectives are met. The team can also assist the astronauts in their tasks, if necessary.

The PTOC is also used to revise and finalize plans before the activities are performed on the ISS. In fact, during preparatory phases, the team conducts simulations to make sure that all systems work properly and that each member of the team is familiar with the mission control centre environment. In addition, the team also conducts simulations of any bugs or problems that may arise during the experiment so that everyone is prepared for any issues that might arise – like a "dress rehearsal" before the big premiere.