Training the team to be ready for anything.
The team which will take part in the science operations of LISA Pathfinder needs to be very well trained in all aspects of the operations and experiments which we plan to perform. Various skills are needed, from development and use of data analysis tools, preparation and understanding of the individual investigations, to the detailed documenting of the activities and results, as well as being involved in the decision making processes.
To achieve this, the team has self organised various training opportunities. These include:
- dedicated training schools and workshops to discuss and evaluate the science objectives, and the investigative approach;
- targetted training sessions for building confidence and fluency with the data analysis tools;
- and end-to-end simulations to immerse the team members in the operational environment.
This last point is now a particular focus for the team, and the rest of the LISA Pathfinder operations teams. In the lead up to the formal Science Operations and Verification Test (SOVT), the science team, together with the Mission Operations Centre (MOC) and the Science Operations Technology Centre (STOC) have carried out a number of pre-SOVT tests. Initially, these tests provided an environment under which the various elements of the ground-segment could be integrated and tested in a realistic way. In later tests, the validation of the science investigations, and the training of the team became an increasingly important aspect.