mission-critical technologies,” says Rune Floberghagen, PhD, an ESA system
and mission performance engineer based in Rome, Italy who was responsible
for the GOCE project’s measurement quality and data processing systems.
“You go to meetings in Switzerland, and they’re often different than meetings
in Athens. The cultures, ambitions, backgrounds, management styles, the way
people deal with stress and deadlines—it’s all different. It’s part of the chal-
lenge, but part of the beauty as well.”
That cross-cultural talent management and collaboration would become a
defining feature of the entire project. The launcher would set the satellite in
orbit from Russia, while team members on the ground would send commands
to the satellite from Germany, receive data from the satellite in Sweden and
Norway, and process the data generated by the payload at the ESA’s Earth
observation center in Italy, where mission leaders were stationed.
Along with a 10-member scientific advisory board, ESA selected the prime
contractor for the development of the satellite. After joining the project in
2001, the prime contractor prepared a set of system-level requirements documents outlining the precise needs for all the hardware and software to be
developed, tested and assembled. The prime contractor accomplished this in
collaboration with a group of companies named in its bid proposal that would
build the satellite platform, the instruments and the ultrasensitive measurement devices that would form the nucleus of the mission.
not a remake
or, aside from
a few minor
a partial reuse of
It was all brand-
new and state-
Just the planning and
development for the
GOCE satellite took
more than a decade.