Arek Kowalczyk - Gaia
European Space Operations Centre (ESOC)
I work at ESOC and my background is in software engineering. My first and still primary role since joining ESA is as a Data Systems Manager for the Gaia Mission Control System. This means that I am responsible for the specification, procurement, validation and future maintenance of the software which will be used at ESOC to monitor and control the Gaia spacecraft.
At this point in time, my job is to ensure that the software developers working on the MCS implement the correct solution and in a timely manner. My day-to-day tasks on Gaia are quite widespread but ultimately as a software engineer I am the technical liaison between the Flight Control Team (who will be the ultimate users of the MCS and whose main domain of expertise is spacecraft operations) and the development team whose task is to write and test the software.
As the project progresses my focus will be on ensuring that the installed system is correctly running and configured for the different simulations and test scenarios which will be run prior to launch and that critical problems are solved as necessary. During LEOP and the commissioning phase my task will be to ensure the smooth running of the Gaia MCS, which will be a rather complicated beast, made up of many different subsystems distributed over a number of machines.
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