Interview with Daniele Galardini, Head of ESA Redu Centre
Over the years, as ESA missions have succeeded one another, the team of engineers and technicians at the Redu Centre has seen the number of antennas increase.
Applications now encompass, not just telecommunications, (Artemis) but also earth (Proba 1) and solar observation (Proba 2), and navigation (Galileo IOT). Daniele Galardini discusses the growth of the ESA Redu Centre.
How long have you been head of the ESA Redu Centre?
My first day as Head of ESA’s Redu Centre was a sunny day in Ma, 2004. Coming from industry, it was a "premiere", not only for me, but also for the colleagues on site that I had never had met before. I admit those first days were a challenge but we quickly succeeded in working together and have made great progress in Redu’s activities.
What do you see as the biggest changes to have taken place at Redu during your time here?
The most visible, especially to the outside world, is the expansion of our activities. More than 25 new antennas are now on site. The building surface has been increased by more than 75 per cent. Nevertheless, the biggest changes are related to the way in which ESA now manages the day-to-day workings of the station. Several directorates are present and individual service level agreements have been put in place for all the activities on site. Redu is the precursor at ESA to extend this approach to operational activity as well.
How has Redu benefitted from these changes?
Having a contractor in the service provision has allowed the development of commercial activities on site, optimising the synergies between ESA and the Operator charged with the maintenance and operations. In line with ESA rules, Redu benefits in sharing the maintenance and site cost for the usage of the facilities and of better management of the workload variation in projects.
What are some of the activities taking place at Redu that might not be so well known to the outside world?
For the people in the surrounding areas, ESA’s Redu Centre may still have a mysterious flavour which is quite noticeable when local residents call the satellite antennas the "radars"! Nevertheless, today Redu, as an ESA Centre, has good visibility inside ESA and the achievements in operations are such to make Redu well known in the professional world. For example, the Proba satellite that provides data used by scientific community all around the world is fully controlled from Redu.
How does Redu fit into ESA’s Centres? Is it one of the larger or smaller ones?
Arguments could be made on both sides. Due to our recent expansion we are probably larger; in people - smaller. Nevertheless it is a unique ESA site where some specific activities can be performed, such as the in orbit testing for the telecom and navigation satellites. This testing needs impressive infrastructure and skilled personnel. Redu has grown in the last years and new ESA activities will be deployed on site such as the SSA space weather data centre, because of the secure and fully operational environment offered by Redu. I hope this will continue in the coming years.
As head of Redu, what do you think are the Centre’s biggest accomplishments?
Just before Christmas in 2006, I was at home on sick leave. I was called in urgency to Redu because Galileo was in need of a proposal for the deployment of its In Orbit Testing Infrastructure on site. We started a preliminary analysis and, after five years, we have a massive infrastructure including a 20 m antenna on site. With the support of all my ESA colleagues at Redu (we were only four and fully occupied in different activities), we managed to successfully meet the challenge and now we are ready to host the measurement campaign just after the launch. I must thank all of them and the other collegues in ESTEC and ESOC who supported us in this venture.
Last Update: 11 Oct 2011