Acceptance of the Sentinel-3 mission planning system
In August EUMETSAT’s Darmstadt site in Germany hosted the acceptance of the mission planning system (MPF) of the Copernicus Sentinel-3 system. This event represented EUMETSAT’s official acceptance of the GMV-developed system as ready for the launch of the first satellite (S3A) of the two to be launched in the Sentinel-3 constellation; this first launch is scheduled for the first weeks of December.
In this first phase the GMV-developed mission planning system (MPF) will generate the operational plans of the 4 instruments of the first of the two satellites, the data downloading plan and ground station network’s instrument-data acquisition plans. Later, when the second of the constellation’s satellites is launched (scheduled for 2017) the MPF will generate the plans for both satellites and reach its full operational capacity.
The MPF is based on the Eumetsat Polar System (EPS, Metop) planning system, also operated by EUMETSAT. EPS MPF has been up and running since the launch of Eumetsat’s first satellite 9 years ago and has proven to be a robust and flexible system that meets mission needs at all moments.
The Sentinel-3 MPF represents a considerable advance on its forerunner, responding to the technological demands posed by the new satellites, such as position-based commands or onboard autonomy, slashing ground operation costs. GMV is rounding out this activity with the onsite support service. This has involved posting a GMV engineer to EUMETSAT’s German HQ to prepare the system for operations and give support to the S3A launch.