Tag Archives: team

Some Gaia numbers

We have heard and read many numbers about Gaia: the number of stars and other objects that it will observe, the maximum observable magnitude, the microarcsecond of accuracy and the remarkable focal length of 35 m. We have also read that such a powerful telescope on Earth would be able to detect a button on the spacesuit of an astronaut on the Moon. But let’s look at more hidden numbers. It took over 3.5 million hours to study, design, build and test Gaia. That’s about 300 people working full time for 7 years, spread over 74 different companies and 16 countries. Meanwhile the design and implementation of the science and the operations...

IT Phone home

Being an Information Technology (IT) specialist may not sound as glamorous as some of the other roles that people have out here in Kourou, but it is just perhaps just as important since we all rely heavily on our computers and online communications, not only for a successful launch campaign, but also to stay connected with our families thousands of miles away back home. Being an IT specialist in the jungle also presents with it some unique challenges, but the unusual technical problems are probably the most interesting to deal with! I’m no stranger to Kourou launch campaigns, having worked on Rosetta and Herschel and Planck in the past. Before the Gaia...

Meet the team: what’s a Project Controller doing all th...

A launch campaign is the final big leap for a space project, where all the teams work hand in hand for several weeks: the ESA Team, the Industrial Team, CNES and Arianespace. It sees a significant number of people, performing different activities, from the critical fuelling of the spacecraft to the exciting pushing of the final button in the control room. But there are other people, working a little more in the background, that are necessary for the smooth running of all the compressed and fast activities during the campaign. For example, what is a Project Controller doing all the way into the jungle, where no programmatic papers nor procurement best practices...