Training at Intespace for ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicle “pilots”

They are part of the mission by the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), the cargo spacecraft developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) to supply the International Space Station (ISS). They are members of the team which operates the ‘Georges Lemaître’ version of the vessel, which flew in the summer of 2014.
For them, the end of the missions scheduled for February 2015 means that they will have to turn to other tasks, which is why some of them took part in training at the Intespace Training Center (ITC).

Training for a successful career change

After successfully completing missions specifically focused on operations, certain members of the ESA ATV team are now looking to follow a career in a new direction, as systems engineers. They then need to acquire new skills, in particular in space environment testing. ESA, which has worked with the Intespace teams for the payload environment tests for Columbus, the European laboratory module on the ISS, then naturally turned to ITC. The training team then designed a tailor-made training course for these
individuals.

Transmitting experience

The Intespace training programmes include field knowledge of a subject which is part of its DNA. ITC draws directly on the test campaigns, placing it in an ideal situation to transmit the experience acquired.
The programme was well received by the trainees: the subjects were well chosen and the organisation well thought-out. The ESA training manager in fact appreciated the professionalism at Intespace. This is also why the visits to the facilities, which gave them a real taste of the tests, particularly pleased the future systems engineers. However, they had a little more trouble in comprehending certain parts of the presentation which were too specialised for their general engineering profile. Hence the idea of further increasing the use of examples of actual specifications (Ariane, Shuttle, real payloads) to illustrate the presentation and make it more accessible. This is a recommendation that the ITC teams will be trialling in the very near future.

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