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Prior to any space vehicle development it is crucial in the very early stage of the project to understand the dynamical behaviour and achievable system performance. The theory and tools offered by system theory allow us to model, simulate and manipulate complex system characteristics until satisfactory behaviour is obtained. Underlying to this is a control design process that in a multidisciplinary setting will iteratively dictate the architecture of system to be designed. In order to manage uncertainty and complexity, fundamental design tools based on recent advanced control techniques are used to support this process. These tools are generic and allow responding in a flexible way to various mission needs. This will be illustrated on a spectrum of ESA missions where Systems & Control are fundamental. For some challenging space missions the main control design drivers will be highlighted by means of illustrative design examples. The experience and results achieved with advanced modelling and control techniques will be reviewed. Based on this experience an integrated view on control technology will be given, seen from an experimental perspective and highlight potential directions for the improvement of the management of complex space systems.