Private Tour of Eumetsat and Telespazio for ISU MSS17 Class

MSS17 participant Marc Scanlan reports on a recent trip to Eumetsat in Darmstadt, Germany: “Hosted by the ever-joking guide Phil Harvey, Wednesday’s trip began with a tour of the Eumetsat scale satellite models in the frigid Darmstadt morning.

Chiara Cocchiara, a system engineer and Forbes 30 under 30 awardee, gave an overview of the operations centre, the company structure, and – of particular interest to ISU students – how to get a job at Eumetsat. A tour of the facility followed, with Phil and Chiara highlighting different challenging loss of signal (LOS) incidents: prominently featured was a daily 10-minute blackout of the control station that (after causing significant headaches) was found to be due to ground maintenance around the antenna. While on tour of the centre, the MetOp 2 satellite passed over Svalbard, Norway as the team reacted.

After a typical German lunch, a visit to Telespazio Vega was on deck. Here, three workshops made up the visit: the first introduced astronaut training and adaptation to the Columbus module. The next, which showed Vega’s capacity for developing training software, put students in charge of satellite operations during solar panel deployment and an unexpected failure. Yankee Echo Alpha Hotel! Finally, we were given an overview of the Telespazio space broadband solution, from mobile banks to Internet of Things applications.”