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The Object Management Group (OMG) has recently ratified the XML Telemetry and Telecommand Exchange (XTCE) as a standard means to describe the format of telemetry and telecommand data for mission operations. It is meant as a direct replacement for proprietary formats found in mission operations software. The goal of the specification is to provide for an easy means of exchanging this information between the organizations that build, test, deploy and manage spacecraft missions, and to increase the software choices for customers in the mission operations center. This work describes the genesis and design of XTCE by the original authors of the specification, and gives examples using both TDM and packet style (CCSDS) telemetry and commands. It also discusses current prototyping efforts being performed by NASA-GSFC, ESA, Lockheed Martin (AF, Colorado Springs) and others.