XMM sub-contractors see their baby
24 August 1999From Spain to Finland, from Great Britain to Austria, 14 countries were represented at ESTEC on the 19th August when the XMM sub-contractors came to see Europe's X-ray space observatory before it is shipped to its Kourou launchsite.
Response to the invitation from the Dornier Satellitensysteme team led by Uwe Minne was particularly high despite the August holiday period. But it was an opportunity not to be missed. Over a hundred engineers and managers from the 46 European sub-contractors came to see the spacecraft. Most have worked on the project over several years, and intimately know all of XMM's systems. But they were impressed by the great size of the fully assembled spacecraft in front of them.
The visit to the clean room followed several presentations by XMM Project Manager Robert Laini and by members of the Dornier team. After recapping on the science mission "which will multiply by a factor ten our knowledge of X-ray sources in the Universe", Robert Laini expressed his gratitude for the excellent work by Dornier and all of the sub-contractors.
"We can really be proud of our achievement, building such an advanced science spacecraft in so short a time, only three and half years for the phases C-D, and within the allotted budget" said M.Laini. He recalled his management philosophy to which all the sub-contractors had fully adhered. "We clearly defined the requirements of the mission; then we obtained top performance from everybody with open communication to anticipate and resolve problems. Everyone played the game. We were light on paperwork, and heavy on hardware and software quality."
Managers from Dornier recalled their approach to the challenge of building and testing such a large spacecraft, in two halves and with as many activities as possible being performed in parallel. They recapped on the main design changes during the programme, which will ensure a greater performance and reliability of XMM once it is in orbit, and they finally gave the present status of the spacecraft. Summing up his satisfaction at a job well done, Dornier's project manager Uwe Minne told the audience and Robert Laini: "If we can all work again together on another satellite project, it will be with immense pleasure".
At the end of this week, the Assembly, Integration and Testing of XMM will be completed and the spacecraft will be packed for its journey to French Guiana. It is now due to be loaded on to the Arianespace "MN Toucan" and leave Rotterdam on the 10th September.