I was born in Amsterdam 03-03-1954 and work now for 30 years in the Space Industry as a Spacecraft System Engineer. I’m a highly motivated person that loves complicated projects with challenges, endeavours and team spirit. The international character of these projects, were you work together with international stakeholders, prime and sub-contractors is a big motivation. I have a Master of Science degree in physics.
I started working in the Space industry at Fokker Space and Systems in 1988 as a test conductor for the iconic European Remote Sensing ERS-1 spacecraft (launched in 1991). This was a corner stone mission for ESA in the early 80’s. The spacecraft hoisted several state of the art sophisticated instruments, the Active Microwave Instrument (AMI) combining the functions of a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and a Wind Scatterometer, Radar Altimeter (RA), Along Track Scanning Radiometer (ATSR), Microwave radiometer (MWR), Precise Range And Range-Rate Equipment PRARE and collected a wealth of valuable data on Earth’s land surfaces, oceans, and polar caps. In March 2000, a computer and gyro control failure led to ERS-1 finally ending its operations, after far exceeding its planned lifetime.
A follow up spacecraft was built to overlap with the ERS-1 mission; this ERS-2 was a copy of ERS-1 with an additional sensor for atmospheric ozone research Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME). ERS-2 was launched in 1995 and ESA decided in 1995 directly after launch to link the two satellites in the first ‘tandem’ mission, which lasted for nine months. In July 2011, ERS-2 was retired.
Fokker Space and Systems was responsible of the Assembly, Integration and Testing of ERS-1&2 payloads. The spacecraft platform, that hoisted the payloads, was built and tested by Matra Toulouse and was derived from the SPOT platform. The prime for the ERS-1 & 2 projects was former named Dornier from Friedrichshafen, now Airbus GmbH.
The adventure continued with the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) AOCS system, where Fokker Space and System was responsible. This was my first experience with the Attitude Orbit Control System of spacecraft’s. The ISO-AOCS project was effectuated in the time-gap between ERS-1 and ERS-2. I was test conductor for the ISO-AOCS for 2.5 years and touched all aspects of testing and verification of the AOCS system. This was the first ESA Science mission I was involved in.
At Fokker Space and Systems I was further involved in the European Robotic Arm (ERA) Project were I was Hardware/Software Lead engineer and Man Machine Procurement engineer/manager. The ERA is still not launched today the ERA is in Russia awaiting a launch opportunity. For ERA all aspects of Human Space Flights has been encountered during the development of the Man Machine Interfaces. The MMI’s are the hands and eyes of the astronauts/cosmonauts. The operations are performed by means of the MMI’s. NASA rules on Human Factor engineering are applicable for the ERA.
In 2002 I start working at ESA Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, The Netherlands as a contractor.
From 2002 until today I worked on several missions:
Science missions: Mars Express, Venus Express, Herschel-Planck, Solar Orbiter, Gaia and Lisa Pathfinder
Human Space Flights missions: ATV-1, 3, 4 and 5
Earth Observation Missions: GOCE, Copernicus Sentinel-2A, Sentinel-3ABCD, Sentinel-5p, MSG-3&4 (Meteosat Second Generation), MTG (Meteosat Third Generation), EarthCare, METOP-C, Aeolus
Today I work 100% for Earth Observation Missions namely, Sentinel-3BCD, Sentinel-5p, MTG, EarthCare, Aeolus (limited to LEOP support in ESOC) and METOP-C (limited to LEOP in ESOC).
My experience covers the complete life cycle of a spacecraft program:
Preparing the spacecraft ESA requirements and ITT-package,
Prime selection through an Invitation To Tender process,
System Requirement Review (SRR),
Preliminary Design Review (PDR),
Critical Design Review (CDR),
Qualification Review (QR),
Flight Acceptance Review (FAR),
System Validation Test (SVT),
Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) at operation centre (ESOC),
System In Orbit Validation (SIOV) – commissioning review
This also encompassed the Sub-contractors ITT process for all units that are part of the spacecraft design and the life cycle of the units, EQuipment Suitability Review (EQSR), PDR, CDR, QR and Test Review Board (TRB) and Delivery Review Board (DRB).
A substantial part of my work deals with the operational aspects of spacecraft mission. The Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) is a critical phase in the life cycle of a spacecraft mission. The spacecraft is made ready for launch, mated to the launcher and finally launched from one of the spaceports in the world: Kourou, Plesetsk, Baikonur.
Launch campaign at the launch site comprises of health checking the spacecraft elements, after the transport to the launch site, integration of Solar Arrays, final alignment measurement, final system tests with the operation centre, tanking the spacecraft, finalising the thermal hardware, removing red-tags, mating with the launcher adapter etc.
The operation centre of ESA (ESOC) is located in Darmstadt in Germany. The real operations of the spacecraft are started as soon as the spacecraft has been tracked and locked to the ground segment network. The first very important event is the Acquisition Of Signal (AOS) of the spacecraft (spacecraft 5 degrees above the horizon). The spacecraft radio communication system (TTC) broadcast vital telemetry information by means of S-band antennae’s, the ground system tracks this signal and locks to it and than establish communication with the spacecraft by means of a NOP command (ping) command to the spacecraft as soon as this happens the forward and backwards link with the spacecraft is established and the critical LEOP operations can start.
I am a highly experienced senior engineer with more than 30 years experience as a System Engineer focused on AOCS systems and associated AIV/AIT functions. This includes FDIR design, implementation and verification. I’m the focal point in the TEC-SAA section w.r.t. Sign (polarity) verification the so-called End-to-end Sensor-Actuator chains in the AOCS sub-system. ESA representative in the Sentinel-3 Sign Verification Group, an independent group that judge the end-to-end sign verification from design up-to the final conclusion at the spacecraft FAR. Strongly related and important for the AOCS function is the AOCS Software as part of the CSW. The SW design, implementation and verification cycle of the AOCS SW is very important and is covered, by participating in the SW reviews.
Specialist in AOCS-Operations in ESOC/EUMETSAT: SVT’s, LEOPs and SIOVs for many projects: MEX, VEX, GAIA, MSG 3&4, Lisa PF, Sentinel-3a, Sentinel-5p, Sentinel-3b, Sentinel-3cd, METOP-C LEOP.
Launch Campaigns on launch sites:
ERS-2 Q4-1994 until Q1-1995 in Kourou
Mars Express 2003 Baikonur
Venus Express Aug/Sep 2005 Baikonur
ATV-1 Q4-2007 Kourou
MSG-4 May 2015 Kourou
LEOP/SIOV in ESOC (including simulation campaign):
Mars Express launch 2 June 2003, Mars Orbit Insertion 25 December 2003
Venus Express launch 9 November 2005, Venus Orbit Insertion 11 April 2006
MSG-3 launched 5 July 2012 - 10 days of operations
Gaia launched 19 December 2013
MSG-4 launched 15 July 2015 - 12 days of operations
Lisa Path Finder launched 3 December 2015 – 10 days of operations
Sentinel-3a launched 16 February 2016 – 3 days LEOP and 5 days SIOV
Sentinel-5p launched 13 October 2017
Sentinel-3b launched 25 April 2018
Metop-C LEOP launched 7 November 2018
Knowledge of several operating systems: Unix, Linux, and Windows as advanced user, Mac OS
Programming in C, Fortran, Pascal, Algol, including scripts usage under Unix
Office suite of programs – fully conversant
University of Amsterdam – Physics: (MSc) Master in Science Degree in Experimental Physics (Nuclear Physics) with various software courses as part of the study;
Master thesis: “The cross-section of Pionic Absorption in Flight on Deuterium between 20 – 65 MeV”.
HTS – Higher Technical School Amsterdam: Electro-technique and telecommunication (Bachelor degree);
ETS – Electro-Technique School Amsterdam (MTS – Electro-technique);
MULO – Breitner Mavo Amsterdam;
Several papers as co-writer have been published on Pionic absorption
ESA bulletin input for Venus Express
Fokker Space courses:
ERA Simulation Facility (ESF) course,
Fokker Space in-house System Engineering course,
Southampton Space University general System engineering course,
“Social abilities course”.
4) Work experience (most resent first):
Employee at Telespazio VEGA UK Limited: October 2017 – present
Metop-C FAR and LEOP (November 2018)
Metop-SG CDR review
Sentinel-5p LEOP (October 2017)
Sentinel-3bcd support, including Sentinel-3b LEOP/SIOV April-May 2018
MTG AOCS support
Earth Care AOCS testing support
Geerling Space BV: February 2017 – September 2017
Support to Sentinel-3bcd, MTG, Sentinel-5p, Aeolus, EarthCare, Metop-C FAR & LEOP
Geerling Space Engineering: 2002 - present
Sentinel-3cd gyro-less evolution of Sentinel-3ab after removal of the CRS
Sentinel-3b started in parallel with Sentinel-3a – Launched April 2018
MSG-4 support started December 2012 until launch 15.07.2015
ATV-5 FAR: April 2014 until June 2014
MTG start of support July 2013 until present
ATV-4 FAR: January 2013 until May 2013
MSG-3 support December 2011 – Launched 05.07.2012 support until December 2012
ATV-3 FAR: November 2011 until March 2012
January 2010: Start of supporting Sentinel-3a until launch in Q1-2016
May 2009: start supporting Lisa PF for the AOCS Functional Verification and in particular on the short term follow the development and testing of the Software Verification Facility (SVF) and the Real-time Test Benches closely in Astrium Ltd. (Stevenage), until launch of Lisa Path Finder in December 2015
Feb 2009: start of Sentinel-2 Support as Avionics System Engineer until May 2010
Dec 2008 – present: Earth-Care SRR/PDR/CDR(2016) review as expert in the Engineering and PA panel especially covering AIV/AIT aspects.
From May 2008 – March 2009: support to the Herschel/Planck project, especially AIT related to AOCS and CDMS. Participation in the QR, FQAR and heavily supporting the project with TRB (IST 1&2 etc.).
From March 2008 I have participated in the GOCE Flight Acceptance Review and continued to support the project team with review of test reports and consequently TRB, which was highly appreciated by the project.
December 2005 – February 2008: ATV project supporting AIT phase w.r.t. GNC/GMS part, functional testing, close loop testing, Thermal Vacuum test, System Validation Test (together with ATV ground segment), Launch campaign support for ATV Functional Acceptance Testing until launch of ATV-1 in March 2008
September 2004 – January 2014 Gaia project: AOCS, Science – project interfacing support, Verification Control, System Engineering support to Gaia System Engineering Manager. AIT support to the E-SVM. Follow the procurement of the ESOC simulator in detail.
September 2002 – April 2006: Venus Express AOCS/DMS/Software support and member of launch campaign team in Baikonur (Aug/Sep 2005). Member of project support team at ESOC for Launch Early Orbit Phase (Sep/Oct 2005), and Venus Orbit Insertion (April 2006);
August 2002 – January 2004: Mars Express AOCS/DMS/FDIR/Software support and member of launch campaign team in Baikonur and project support team at ESOC for Mars Express LEOP and Mars Orbit Insertion;
In August 2002 I have left Dutch Space to continue the support for Mars Express in ESTEC/DTEC-ECC as contractor and for this purpose I formed my own company.
Fokker Space: 1988 - 2002
February 2002 – July 2002: Mars Express AOCS/Data Management System/FDIR consultant contractor in ESTEC/DTEC/ECC.
2001 July – 2002 February: Procurement Manager Herschel / Planck AOCS proposal team and author of Herschel/Planck AOCS SCOE proposal part;
2001 January – June: System Engineer LOFAR (first Software radio telescope in the world);
2001 – Feb 2002: ERA Part time Procurement Manager / Design Engineer MMIs and Refresher Trainer;
1996 August – 2001: ERA Procurement Manager / Design Engineer Man Machine Interfaces (MMIs) and ERA Refresher Trainer (RTR); Responsible for design, cost and schedule. Organize, chair all reviews: SRR, PDR, CDR, TRR, TRB, QAR, DRB and for the software, URR, SRR, ADR, DDR UT, IT, ST, AT, SDRB’s. Regular Progress meetings, NCR, RFWs, EIDP review as part of DRB. Verification close-out meetings with ESA project team.
1995 August –1996 August: European Robotic Arm (ERA) Hardware/Software Lead Engineer;
1995: (Jan – July) AIT Manager Para-foil Technology Demonstrator;
1993 - 1995: ERS-2 EGSE manager / Team leader / Payload expert in ERS-2 launch support team;
1990 - 1993: ISO AOCS sub-system Test Conductor;
1988 - 1990: ERS-1 Test Conductor;
Practical part Physics study: NIKHEF-K Department of Pionic Physics for 3 years combined with part-time function (see below): Master thesis “The cross-section of Pionic Absorption in Flight on Deuterium between 20–65 MeV”. Involved in the design/development and operations of a multi-functional detector system for Pionic physics experiments;
NIKHEF-K: National Institute for Nuclear and Higher Energy Physics in Amsterdam / digital electronics department: Simulation of digital circuits and CAD system.
Duration: One-year fulltime and three years part-time (50 %);
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