Many people support a mission in space. We invite you to meet the teams that are keeping Andreas Mogensen and the International Space Station safe and running experiments, in their own words:
What is your team name?
What does your team name stand for?
What do you do?
We are the voice of the flight control team: we talk to the crew on behalf of all European Control Centres (Columbus Control Centre and
User Support and Operations Centres). We also represent the crew within the flight control team, trying to bring the crew perspective in any discussion between ground controllers.
What does your work typical day look like?
We usually work during crew wake, so we are always ready to answer calls. Besides the usual timeline reviews, and flight note reviews, we spend a lot of time following what the crew is doing by observing the timeline, the video downlink and the procedures they are executing. By maintaining awareness on where the crew is and at which steps they are, we can answer questions fast and even anticipate some of the issues before they arise. Of course, we receive support from all the specialists of the various positions and centers, and we relay all the information in a clear, concise and coherent way to the crew.
How is working for iriss?
It is great! It is challenging because it is so intense and packed and there is no time to loose and always many things to do. But this leads to a great team spirit and results-oriented interactions where everybody does his or her best to support Andy in his mission and maximise the scientific outcome.
What is the best part of your job?
It is so great to talk to the the crew daily while they have the time of their life on-board during their mission. We feel very close to them, and we also have chance to know them before and after the flight. But also, as we are only the voice of the team, we fully rely on being supported by all the experts for each experiment. If problems arise, the entire team comes together and figures out a solution within the limited time we are given, it is very rewarding for everybody.
Sometimes, after recognising your voice, the crew will talk a couple of sentences to you in a different language (German, French etc…), just to surprise you. Of course, we all go back to English for real operational communication, but it is a nice tribute to the many nationalities involved in the International Space Station program!
One time, we asked a crew member if he had completed a minor task and after the talk, we had discussions on ground whether he said “I did it”, or “I didn’t” … the was no recording of the audio, so we would find out in the debrief, and that’s when we placed a few bets 🙂
Andreas & Olivier.