Ensuring quality standards for spacecraft transport of JUICE
My project is not everyday and that is exactly the attraction of this job. I am a quality engineer in the JUICE project - a spacecraft flying to Jupiter in 2022. Prototyping the spacecraft is anything but easy, so that maintaining quality standards is especially important for transport and structural work.
The Space Craft JUICE
My current project is all about the spacecraft JUICE, Jupiter ICy moons Explorer, which is being built by Airbus Defence and Space and many other European partners for the European Space Agency (ESA). JUICE will be built to explore Jupiter and its icy moons Europe, Callisto and Ganymede. We want to find out if there are habitable environments and underground oceans on Jupiter and its moons. JUICE would also be the first space probe to explore a moon on another planet. In spring of 2022, JUICE will then embark on its seven-year journey to Jupiter, covering 600 million kilometres in space and using the gravity of Earth, Mars and Venus. This is a huge project and incredibly exciting for me. The project trumps everything I have ever done in aircraft construction.
Airbus Defence and Space
Engineer, Quality Manager, Quality Engineer, Quality Inspector
Quality Engineering for the aerospace sector
As a quality engineer in the JUICE project, I am responsible for ensuring and complying with quality standards. In particular it concerns the correct adherence to the procedures, which are written by specialized engineers, the smooth transport, the integration and the working in the pure area. I am also responsible for product controls, the so-called incoming inspections and outcoming inspections. I am happy to be involved in such an innovation, because aerospace itself is an incredibly innovative project area. The current project is about transporting the structure of the JUICE space probe that we are currently building here in Immenstaad. The structure of the space probe was developed in France and is currently still near Munich. It has been tested there and will then be transported to the location where the parts will be integrated. I accompany these transports as well. The value of the space probe increases with each additional part that is integrated into the structure. The probe becomes heavier, more valuable and therefore nothing can go wrong during the transport. For this reason, the transport of JUICE is accompanied and controlled by me as quality manager. At the end of the construction the probe will weigh 4800kg.
When the construction is finished, it is also my job to accompany the transport of JUICE with the Antonov to Kourou in French Guiana, to be on site when the space probe is placed on an Ariane 5 or 6. From there JUICE starts its journey.
Challenges in prototype construction of a space probe
Prototyping a space probe is a very different challenge than working as a quality inspector on the Airbus A320. The Airbus A320, whose final assembly takes place in Hamburg, is a model that has been built for a very long time. That is why the A320 is selling so well. There is nothing new there. All "teething troubles" have been cured, the model is solid and there are no more disturbing factors. This is quite different here at Airbus Defence & Space and especially in this project. It is a new project, a prototype construction, nobody knows what to expect and sometimes you must react spontaneously. The responsibility is also quite different because I am the only person who is responsible for quality management in the JUICE project up to this point. It really is a great challenging career opportunity with a great team. The colleagues were not all unknown to me when I started in Immenstaad. I met my former team leader here again.
The best comes last
In 2022, the spacecraft JUICE flies to Jupiter. When the construction is finished, it is also my job to accompany the transport of JUICE with the Antonov to Kourou in French Guiana, to be on site when the space probe is placed on an Ariane 5 or 6. From there JUICE starts its journey. Until then I still enjoy the nice time in Immenstaad at Lake Constance. The Lake Constance is really fantastic, and the surroundings are very inviting to be able to switch off beside the work.
Facts and figures
Ensuring and complying with quality standards for a spacecraft transport
2022 the JUICE spacecraft, on which I am involved, flies to Jupiter
Prototype construction requires creativity but also a high degree of care