Thursday, May 20, 2010

Meetings at ESOC

My meetings in ESOC have gone very, very well. I met with the Mars Express people and walked through some details of this new relay coordination system for which I'm responsible. We've concluded we want to take baby-steps to get them integrated with it in preparation for support of MSL.

My meetings with the ExoMars people have also gone very well. We spoke about a lot of how relay operations will occur between the ExoMars orbiter and any landers that get to the surface of Mars. Some details have been clarified while others are still open questions. Naturally there are things that the two sides of this partnership disagree about, but so far there's nothing that's fundamentally broken.

It is an interesting experience for me to learn how the Europeans construct spacecraft. They have processes that are certainly different from ours, but most assuredly not wrong, for managing spacecraft development, including in their reviews, documentation approach, etc. Truth be told, fundamentally their approach very closely mirrors ours, and mostly it's a matter of simply understanding how their activities map into what we do. I'm learning a lot and enjoying myself.

In other news, I'm glad I went walkabout the first few days I was here, because I've been indoors working ever since and even if I wasn't, it's been raining the whole time.

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