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Austrian Space Forum’s Mission Control Relies On HARMAN’s AKG Headsets For Mars Mission Simulations

VIENNA, Austria – During World Space Week, more than 1,000 events in 80 countries celebrated space exploration with the motto, “Exploring Mars. Discovering Earth.” Headquartered in the Austrian Space Forum’s mission control room, each event was tactfully coordinated to help educate researchers, students and space enthusiasts on the science behind future missions to Mars. With 20 sets of HARMAN’s AKG HSC271 headsets and K171 MKII headphones, field tests, simulated Mars expeditions and international communications were successfully accomplished and transmitted.

The headsets were used for the flight controller consoles at Mission Control, in addition to teleconferences in classrooms worldwide on every continent with the exception of Antarctica.

“Like in any space mission, real or simulated, communication is everything. Loss of communication is one of the worst things to happen on a mission, whether it’s a space walk or during a critical experiment,” stated Dr. Gernot Groemer, President, Austrian Space Forum. “The AKG headsets were not only high quality from a manufacturing point of view, but also provided a high degree of ergonomics and crystal clear audio quality for those wearing the sets for hours at a time. The technology’s ability to block the noise from neighboring consoles was also very helpful for our missions.”

The space organization researched and deployed a vast communications program for the World Space Week celebrations, ensuring redundancy of the communications within Mission Control. With numerous missions in progress during the events, several field teams around the world were simultaneously transmitting into Austria. It was necessary for flight controllers to speak to their teams with clear audio without disturbing their neighbors, who also were directing missions. “With normal, off-the-shelf headsets, this would have been a recipe for disaster,” continued Groemer.

Throughout 2013, the Austrian Space Forum was testing several technology candidates for a new organization-wide headset. The flight directors decided on AKG headsets permanently.

Activities during the week included the WSW 2013 Mission to Mars – a 4-day simulation of a human Mars expedition at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah and a 5-person crew led by Dr. Jon Rask from the Space Biosciences Division at NASA Ames Research Center in California. Other highlights included field tests of the ExoMars Rover in Chile, rover testing by teams in the US, Poland, Germany and Hungary, as well as laboratory tests of the Gandolfi space suit in France and the Aouda.X spacesuit in Austria.

For more information on the AKG HSC271, please visit http://www.akg.com/HSC271-828.html?pid=926, and K171 MKII, http://www.akg.com/K171+MKII-827.html?pid=1145.

HARMAN (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio and infotainment solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets – supported by 15 leading brands, including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon® and Mark Levinson®. The Company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the venues where they perform. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of 14,600 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia and reported sales of $4.5 billion for the last twelve months ended September 30, 2013.

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