Sentinel-6 Main

Meet the Sentinel-6 team

Sentinel-6 Main
Sentinel-6 Main

Getting the ground segment preparations ready

Last Updated

30, November 2020

With the launch of Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich coming up fast, we’ve been trying to introduce you to some of the many people involved in the mission at EUMETSAT.

This time we talked to Julia Figa Saldana, Sentinel-6 Ground Segment Manager, who said “working to get the payload data processing system and ground stations ready in time for launch has been a challenge”.

This was in fact a new role for Julia, as she came from a different area (she was previously the Marine Meteorology Team Leader in the Remote Sensing and Products Division and primarily involved in the development and operations of the wind scatterometer missions in the EPS and EPS-SG programmes).

The Sentinel-6 project had an ambitious schedule and important programmatic constraints, in particular, it had to catch-up with the on-going satellite development at the European Space Agency (ESA), so Julia was brought on board to help push this project forward and is responsible for the ground segment development:

‘We took every opportunity to re-use existing infrastructure and know-how, built up at EUMETSAT through years of development and exploitation of operational ground segment systems. For example, the Sentinel-6 spacecraft operations component is cleverly adapted from the system that EUMETSAT uses to operate the Sentinel-3 mission.”

Julia has a background in remote sensing data processing, so the learning curve was very steep: the ground segment components, such as mission operations component and the ground stations for the downlink of science data and spacecraft monitoring and commanding were a challenge and a lot had to be learned in a short time. However, this is one of the things that Julia likes most:

“Doing things for the first time and breaking ground is interesting and personally rewarding. It motivates you to think outside of the box.”

For more information on the mission, watch the video below or visit the dedicated Copernicus Sentinel-6 microsite.