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From: Niklas Holsti <niklas.holsti@tidorum.invalid>
Subject: [OT] ESA project memories (was Re: is Ada used in James Webb Space Telescope software?)
Date: Fri, 31 Dec 2021 23:18:49 +0200	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

On 2021-12-31 12:26, John McCabe wrote:
> On Tuesday, 28 December 2021 at 10:59:36 UTC, Niklas Holsti wrote:
>> On 2021-12-28 12:24, John McCabe wrote: [snip]
>>> Although Nikolas mentions Matra Marconi Space mandating TLD,
>>> that would've come down from Dornier who'd apparently done a deal
>>> with TLD.
>> Yes, a considerable part of our requirements came from Dornier via
>> Matra Marconi Space (France). We sometimes had fun trying to
>> understand how the French had interpreted requirements written in
>> English by the Germans. The two other languages had left their
>> imprints on the "English" wording :-)
> We didn't really have that problem. On TCIU most of our requirements
> came from Dornier - > MMS-UK (ASAR instrument prime) - > Alcatel - >
> MMS-UK (TCIU team). Both MMS-UK teams were in Portsmouth.

Interesting :-).  I had a similar, but inverse, experience in a later 
project (SW for the Flexible Combined Imager instruments on the MTG 
satellites) where Thales Alenia Space (France) was both our customer for 
the whole SW and our subcontractor for a part of the SW. It led to a 
number of "direct" communications and decisions between the two TAS-F 
teams that bypassed our team (in Finland) and of which we learned later. 
But not much harm done, overall a good project.

> Alcatel were only there because of 'juste retour'*

I can't complain about "juste retour" as without it much less ESA work 
would be given to Finnish companies, especially earlier when Finland was 
a new ESA member with no experience in ESA work.

(For those not in the know: "juste retour" is the ESA policy by which 
ESA tries to give enough project work to each of its member countries to 
correspond to the country's share of ESA membership fees.)

> and they didn't even seem to bother trying to interpret the MMS-UK 
> ASAR requirements, they just changed the front page to have
> "Alcatel" on it. We basically had a shed-load of requirements placed
> on us that had nothing to do with what the TCIU needed to do, and
> Alcatel never did get round to formally specifying the bit we really
> did need from them (the TCIU -> T/R Module - an Alcatel device -
> interface) as far as I can remember!

Sounds like blatant work-avoidance indeed.

> It was good in a way, but Alcatel certainly, and possibly also
> Alenia, played politics all the way through. We were required to go
> through Alcatel to get them to clarify some of the requirements that
> were relevant and had come from MMS-UK. As they had no idea what they
> meant, Alcatel had to go to MMS-UK to get the clarification.
> Fortunately Alcatel appeared to want to do as little work as possible
> for their money so they'd just forward the clarification from MMS-UK
> without bothering to try to understand it.
> I'm sure lots of people have been in similar situations, but the
> inefficiency could've been disastrous, especially as we (the MMS-UK
> teams) had been working directly with each other on ASAR for years
> before Alcatel were put in to split us up, and we used the same
> canteen!

Although splitting work up into several companies does easily make for 
inefficiency, in can also have the benefit of documenting stuff that 
otherwise might be lost in internal e-mails or face-to-face discussions. 
That is, if the companies involved do their work properly, and don't act 
as you describe for Alcatel. But perhaps the Alcatel technical people 
did as well as they could to mitigate a poor higher-level decision, by 
being basically a transparent conduit, as you describe.

  reply	other threads:[~2021-12-31 21:18 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 13+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2021-12-26 13:18 is Ada used in James Webb Space Telescope software? Nasser M. Abbasi
2021-12-26 14:23 ` Dmitry A. Kazakov
2021-12-26 19:22   ` Paul Rubin
2021-12-26 23:57     ` John McCabe
2021-12-27  0:37       ` Paul Rubin
2021-12-27  7:44         ` Niklas Holsti
2021-12-28 10:24         ` John McCabe
2021-12-28 10:59           ` Niklas Holsti
2021-12-31 10:26             ` John McCabe
2021-12-31 21:18               ` Niklas Holsti [this message]
2022-01-05 16:43                 ` [OT] ESA project memories (was Re: is Ada used in James Webb Space Telescope software?) John McCabe
2022-04-23  9:17         ` is Ada used in James Webb Space Telescope software? 姚飞
2021-12-30 13:30 ` Peter Chapin
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