As Mission Operations Manager, I work with a group of people who control the operation of the satellite while it is in orbit. Once CALIPSO is launched, we will conduct orbit maintenance, keeping CALIPSO aligned with the other satellites in the constellation -- called the "A-Train." We also schedule science data transmission which will occurs once per day, and engineering data transmission which will come down five times per day.
Image left: Shown here is Mike Cisewski, mission operations manager for CALIPSO.
From the data, we can determine whether or not there are engineering modifications needed. Once we determine that a modification is needed, we make adjustments to the software, test the adjustment using our simulator, and then send the change to our partners in France who upload commands to the satellite. Also, if the science team sees a problem with the data collected, or if they would like to look more closely at a specific parameter, we can make adjustments. Making these adjustments is really the best part of the job, but also the most challenging. We are able to work closely with the scientists to get the most out of the payload. We take a payload that works well, and find a way to make it work better -- it is very rewarding.
What's your favorite part of your job?
This is a really cool job. Beyond being able to make adjustments to make the payload work better, the part of my job that I enjoy the most is getting to work with people all over the world. We have ground stations in Alaska and Sweden and Wallops Island, Virginia, and we have operations partners in France. I get to deal with all of these people, plus NORAD, on a regular basis. It is really interesting and exciting.
Tell us more about you...
Right now we are in a really busy time, preparing for CALIPSO's launch. However, when I do get a chance, I enjoy watching my daughter play soccer. I also spend a lot of time shuttling the kids around to all of their different activities.