November 30 : hangout live from the launchpad in Kourou

Pierre Binétruy and Volker Beckman invite you to participate to a hangout live from the Kourou Space Centre in French Guyana, where the LISAPathfinder satellite is waiting on the launchpad. This hangout will take place on November 30, at 17:00 GMT (18:00 Paris time, 14:00 Kourou time) for an hour.

The LISAPathfinder mission will test key technologies for the future gravitational wave observatory planned by the European Space Agency for the 2030s. The launch is scheduled on December 2 at 4:15 GMT.

A rare opportunity to feel the atmosphere of a space centre a few hours before a launch.

Our host for this event will be in Kourou Paul McNamara, ESA, project scientist of the LISAPathfinder mission.

paul_mcnamara“My name is Paul McNamara, and I am the LISA Pathfinder project scientist at the European Space Agency (ESA). I’ve been part of the LISA and LISA Pathfinder project since I started my PhD at the University of Glasgow in 1994. After my PhD,  I continued my research in spaceborne gravitational wave detection, at the University of Glasgow, before moving to the NASA – Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, USA. This was my first experience of working for a space agency. In 2005, I moved to ESA, where I have been the LISA Pathfinder project scientist ever since.

The project scientist’s job is to manage the scientific exploitation of the mission…to ensure that we get as much science return as possible. I also coordinate the various university teams who will be involved in the data analysis and operations of the science instrument.

In order to fulfil my responsibilities, I need to work closely with the engineering team at ESA,  the operations teams at both the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC), and European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), as well as the university groups involved in the mission.”


He will be accompanied by:

César García, ESA, project Manager of the LISAPathfinder mission

cesar_garcia“I am César García. I live in the Netherlands, where I moved from my native country, Spain. By education I am an aeronautical engineer, a space systems engineer and a MBA.

In the Netherlands I work at the European Space Agency as LISA Pathfinder project manager. As project manager, my job is to develop, launch, and perform the in-orbit operations until we have confidence the systems work (we call this in-orbit commissioning); and my responsibility is to do that while meeting the science, planning and budgetary requirements. This involves many people who make all that possible.”

Jon Harr, CNES, the Director of Operations,

Opérationnels à Jupiter 2, pendant chronologie VV05, le 22/06/2015.

“I am the Range Operations Director (DDO is the French Abbreviation) at CNES, which means that I am responsible for the operations conducted on the range to :

– prepare the spacecraft (payload) before its integration on the launcher,

– prepare all the means on the range necessary for launch operations : Security, ground safety, logistics, energy/air-con, telecom, optronics, time synchronization, telemetry (ground stations and real time processing systems), positioning (radars and real time processing systems). The telemetry ground station include several stations world-wide in order to track the launcher.

– finally, during the last part of the launch campaign, the DDO is responsible for the launch operations conducted from the Jupiter 2 control room. The DDO is not responsible for preparing and operating the launcher.”

Vicki Lonnon, Airbus D&S, Quality Insurance Engineer

vicki_lonnon“I’m Vicki Lonnon, from the UK.  I work for Airbus Defence & Space and for the last two and half years I have been the Quality Assurance Engineer for the LISA Pathfinder Spacecraft.  My role is within the Assembly Integration & Test team who are responsible for the putting together the spacecraft, testing it and ensuring that we have met the requirements of our customer, ESA.  As the Quality Assurance Engineer,  I get involved in all the different activities happening on the spacecraft, it is a great mix of hands on work with the flight hardware and office based work such as reviewing/writing procedures in advance of activities.”

Vicki is writing a personal blog on the test and launch campaign here.



The Google Hangout will be streamed live on Google Hangouts and Youtube for approximately 60 minutes, where you can follow the questions and answers live.


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