QUOTE (Greg Hullender @ Jul 1 2011, 01:21 AM)
Could you describe the team a bit? How many of you are there? What's a typical day's work like? No need for enormous detail (unless you feel like it) :-) but enough to let us frame our questions.
Thanks for your question.
The team has changed a lot during the project, from the time of conception to the present flight and data exploitation phase, even if we have tried to re-use the team members as much as possible. The team, which you can see in http://www.dawn.mps.mpg.de/index.php?id=2&L=1
, is divided basically in 5 groups:
- engineers, who worked in the project mostly during the hardware phase and are "in the back burner" in case we see hardware problems
- scientists, who determine what has to be observed, particularly timing, filter selection and exposure time, and do the science with the images
- operators, who take the scientists requests, turn them into flight commands, send them to JPL, get the image data when it is available and turn them into images for the scientists
- developers, who provide tools for the operators and scientists to do their work
- quality dept, who just cover our back, ensuring that, whatever we do, we leave a track that can be followed in case something goes wrong.
The daily work in this high phase currently involves 12 people approximately on the FC team alone.
There is not a typical day as such, because they vary a lot depending on the level of planning and flight activities, but I can briefly describe the workflow. It all starts with the greater Dawn Science Team laying out a general observation plan for a phase. The breakdown of the mission into phases and the scientific goals of each phase were agreed long time ago. With the observation plan and the operational allocations, the scientists pick a number of observations. Then the operators turn them into sequences that are tested first on the spare cameras, then on a spacecraft testbed, before they are sent for flight operations.
On the down-link side, the raw packets are received and stored at the Dawn Science Center (UCLA) and then forwarded to us for reconstruction of the uncalibrated and calibrated images. After that, it is all either science or PR, way beyond the understanding of this humble operations team.
Of course, on top of this is the daily work of developing and testing tools for processing and analyzing the data, and lots of management.