Last fall I visited ESTEC, ESA’s space research and technology center. In this first of three episodes, I talk with Maria Hernek, who heads the Flight Software Systems section. We talk about the challenges of space flight software, the development processes used by ESA and its vendors, as well as means of ensuring the required quality attributes. This episode can be seen as a continuation of the conversation with Andreas Wortmann in the OHB episode.
George Knudsen started working in 1958 on the Redstone missile, and moved on to working on the Atlas ICBM. Later he worked on the Saturn 5 launch vehicle, where he was responsible for the fuel tanks. He was on the launch team at Cape Canaveral for various Apollo missions. In this episode with talk with George about his work in this fascinating period of science and engineering history.
In this episode we get a peek into how OHB System AG in Bremen develops satellites — mostly based on the Galileo navigation satellites. We speak with Christian Pauly about systems engineering, with Mathias Tausche about manufacturing and integration, with Andreas Wortmann about the software on the satellites, and with Ingo Engeln about the company as a whole.
The tail numbers NASA 911 and NASA 905 were used for the two Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, converted Boeing 747s that carried the shuttle between the landing sites and the launch complex at Kennedy Space Center. Our guest in this episode is Ace Beall who flew the SCAs for several years. We talk about operations, modifications on the airplane, the flight characteristics with and without the shuttle as well as some anecdotes from Ace’s time on the SCA.
The Gemini programme of the mid-sixties is relatively unknown, even though it was an important stepping stone in the Apollo moon programme: Gemini is where NASA learned to fly in space. In this episode we cover Gemini with our two guests David Woods (who has been on the show talking about Apollo) and David Harland. Together they wrote a book on Gemini that serves as the rough outline of this conversation. We talk about the Gemini spacecraft itself, the launch vehicles, some of the achievements and learnings of the programme as well as some of the specifics of some of the missions.