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OFJ97 Field Journal from Laura Barnard - 2/6/97

I don't know if you had a chance to read my biography yet, but my job is one that covers several tasks for the science and sequencing part of the Galileo project. I work with all of the science team, operators, and sequence products. In addition to that I also test software, archive materials for the team, and do some system engineering. At any one time I could be working on several diverse things that seem incongruous when put together in a journal! I think that my job is the one that crosses team organization and fills the gaps to help everyone out.

Today I started working on documenting the data playback rules and regulations. Basically the spacecraft is taking pictures, and science data and puts most of it on a tape recorder. Then after we are past our target (say a Jupiter moon), we play back the data that is on the tape. It sounds easy (especially if you have your own tape recorder or camcorder--how hard can it be to use one, even on a spacecraft?), but it is actually very complicated and we have people (known as coordinators) that make sure that the process is working correctly. They are constantly working on the next upcoming sequence or on data that is coming down so they don't have time to write down exactly what they are doing. That is were I come in. I am in the process of documenting what they do and how they do it so that others in the project know what to do if there is a new person or if there is a situation where we need to know what the spacecraft is doing. If someone gets sick, or moves to another project, the people left behind will then know exactly what to do.

After starting to work on the document, our project software programmer came in and said that he had two pieces of software ready for testing. This part of my job always takes precedence over other things because it will save the team time and energy to have software that is accurate and bug free. The testing of software is fairly easy. I take the software and pretend that I am a user and I run it through its paces. I do everything possible including running all of its printouts and reports, trying to get the software to "crash." After I am done testing the software I then compare the output from the new software to an error-free master copy of the output that I keep. This is a good check to make sure that no new bugs have been introduced with the changes. I then document all of the changes and write release notes for the team so that they know about the changes such as new commands or bug fixes that help them do their job. This is tedious yet necessary so that we have documentation of all of the changes that occur.

Another part of my job that I like is that of party organizer! When I was the project secretary I thought that it would be fun if we got together for potlucks or lunches at work. It has since grown! Now we have HUGE lunches to celebrate orbit encounters, because everyone on the team comes (even the project managers!). It is a celebration because we have done all of the work to command the spacecraft, and we are actually collecting data. Right now I am organizing a pizza party for our Europa 6 encounter which is Feb. 20th. There are 100 people on our team and that is a LOT of pizza!



 

 
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