Interview with ESA’s Daniel Mesples, Spacecraft Operations Manager for Sentinel-5P, set for launch on 13 October 2017.
Editor’s note: Daniel Mesples took some time from an incredibly busy schedule to talk with us about the training and preparations for 5P launch at ESA’s ESOC mission control centre in Darmstadt, Germany.
Q. What is involved in the ‘Sim’ campaign?
DM: On 18 July, the Sentinel-5P team at ESOC began intensive simulation training. This training will test the abilities of the team to work efficiently during all phases of the mission and to react correctly to any unexpected – or expected! – contingencies. We’re especially focussing on LEOP, the launch and early orbit phase, which last three days, and in particular on the critical five-hour period following acquisition of signal – AOS.
During the simulations, the mission control team – about 40 people – is practicing working together and building their ability, which is crucial, to communicate effectively in case of any contingency.
During simulation training, the operations team try to forecast anything that could go wrong and have an emergency plan ready – with everyone knowing what he or she should do – for each option. Further, every step in the ...