Diary from a space project – 21 March 2012, Wednesday (L-2!)
Latest pre-launch report from Charlotte Beskow with the Engineering Support Team (EST) in Toulouse -- Ed.
EST Room - Part 1: The other room (Part 2) is visible via camera
On my way to the office, I pass an advertisement which reads "Les choses improbable arrivent probablement," which translates roughly as "The improbable will probably happen;" I hope it is not a bad omen...
At ATV-CC, the atmosphere is 'like before a major exam in school'. The EST are arriving from Bremen, Les Mureaux and ESA/ESTEC (NL). Two experts can not be here due to last-minute personal circumstances and they will be missed. The planning is adjusted accordingly.
We take the opportunity to do a last-minute check of consoles, procedures, etc. In the excitement of packing, there is always the risk of forgetting something but we share what we have and with the electronic storage across various databases it is relatively easy to collect the latest version of documents still sitting on the hall table at home. It is hard when your main task is hundreds of kilometres away from home. Luckily, many of us have similar equipment allowing us to share power adapters and phone chargers.
Roll-out of ATV-3, Edoardo Amaldi, is taking place later today, about 14:00 CET.
At 11:00, we have a briefing with our ESA/CNES flight control team counterparts. Our roles are very different. The flight control team operate Our vessel within its qualified domain. They execute the nominal plan, nominal procedures and handle the first level, predefined reaction, in case of problems. They also interface via the voice loops with the Houston and Moscow Control Centres, which operate the International Space Station.
We, the Engineering Support Team (EST), are there to support them in case things do not go according to plan. It is our task to prepare for the unexpected.