The operations centre on the ground monitors and controls the systems on the International Space Station (ISS) and the transmitters on the animals. It consists of a monitoring and control centre in Moscow and a user data centre.
The control centre is responsible for the operation of Icarus on the ISS and is under Russian administration. Communication with the ISS takes place via the normal communication channels between the ISS and the control centre.
The ISS first sends the data to the Russian control centre. From there, the data is forwarded to the German user data centre, processed and made available to the scientific community via the Movebank database. The user data centre is the interface to the scientific community. If the user wants to make configuration changes to the animal transmitter, he can communicate this to the user center (UDC). The configuration commands are then transmitted to the animal transmitter in the opposite way. If the user wants to make configuration changes to the animal transmitter, he can communicate this to the user center (UDC). The configuration commands are then transmitted to the animal transmitter in the opposite way.The centre receives configuration commands for animal transmitters from users and forwards them to the ISS via the control centre in Moscow.
In principle, all the data is provided for the scientific community and made available in the Movebank database. Sensitive data, for example about endangered animal species, is protected and is not released.
Due to the war in Ukraine, the Russian space agency Roskosmos has terminated its cooperation with many partners. This also affects the Icarus project on the International Space Station ISS. The transmission of data from the ISS was stopped on March 3, 2022.
The research team is currently considering alternative options for continuing Icarus independent of the ISS. One option is to operate its own small satellite to receive the data from the animals it transmits. In the meantime, the team is investigating whether the data can be read out from individual animals that have been transmitted on Earth.