However, sharing engineers and common facilities between GOCE, CryoSat-2 and Aeolus during this worst-case scenario period required some very delicate operations scheduling between the three missions' Spacecraft Operations Managers, to ensure that all missions were supported successfully.
During the testing, several unforeseen problems meant that last-minute reorganisation and close communication between the teams was necessary, eventually showing that even under difficult circumstances, good cooperation and innovative resource management within the family of missions can overcome the most complex of technical problems.
Pier Paolo Emanuelli, ESA's Head of the Earth Observations Operations Division at ESOC, says that the Mission Family concept enables engineers and spacecraft controllers to cross-train on each other's satellites, boosting expertise, increasing job satisfaction and providing quick back-ups for each other.
"Yes, we've been able to optimise personnel, and, with common training, our overall workload can be better managed. The engineers have greater satisfaction - they can rotate between different phases of each mission and this gives them much more interesting professional opportunities," he says.
"With ESA's growing EO missions, the time-limited testing campaign we experienced around GOCE launch will occur more frequently. We can't just work harder - we have to work smarter and better," says Emanuelli.
|Contact: Jocelyne Landeau-Constantin|
European Space Agency