In the first of the Masterclass series, we head to Darmstadt, Germany, where epoch-making robotic space exploration missions have been flown under the watchful eye of one man, Paolo Ferri.
Once a spacecraft is launched to space, that’s it. Thousands or millions of kilometres away, there can be no manual fixes, on-the-fly upgrades or last-minute changes. It’s now up to teams at mission control to use the tools and technologies at their disposal, as well as their own knowledge, teamwork and creativity to overcome the inevitable problems faced by any mission in space.
In ‘Thinking Outside the Box,” Paolo describes three missions that suffered unexpected and potentially fatal flaws: Smart-1, Cluster and Exosat, and how on-the-ground knowledge, innovation and ingenuity prevented their untimely demise, allowing the science to go on.
With 36 years’ of experience at ESA, Paolo Ferri is responsible for mission operations, and he has played a leading role in ensuring the success of missions like Eureca, ESA’s first-ever reusable satellite; Cluster, one of the longest-flying science missions; Venus Express, Europe’s first exploration of Earth’s ‘evil twin’; and Rosetta, humanity’s first landing on a comet.
In five episodes of ‘Leadership at Mission Control’, Paolo takes us through major events in his career at ESA, covering cornerstone missions, first attempts, overcoming technical challenges, building diverse teams, working under pressure and solving the unexpected problems that are part of any space endeavour.
New episodes from Paolo’s Masterclass will be released each Sunday, stay tuned!
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Paolo Ferri on working under pressure | ESA Masterclass
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Paolo Ferri on the culture at mission control | ESA Masterclass
Paolo Ferri on communication and teamwork | ESA Masterclass
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