Project Management at ISAS
The Project Manager is usually a professor of ISAS in either science or engineering. One of the Project Scientists is often appointed from outside ISAS. Project Engineers are chosen from ISAS faculty members and technical staff. Proposals for the scientific payload are solicited from the scientific community in the field of the mission and are selected by a board which comprises a Project Manager, Project Scientist, and other experts in the field both inside and outside ISAS.
In many ISAS projects the selected payloads include participation from abroad, as described in greater detail in the example case of the Advanced Satellite for Cosmology and Astrophysics (ASCA). A Project Implementation Team replaces the Working Group once the project has been approved and is led by the Project Manager. Engineers from contracting industries are also included in its membership. There is no main contractor and the project is managed directly by ISAS. Scientists in the Project Team form a Science Working Group as a subgroup to deal specifically with issues concerning science payloads.
Development toward the launch of a satellite proceeds in three phases. The first phase is design and fabrication of the engineering model for a limited number of subsystems which are critical to the mission and/or to be developed anew. For reasons of economy, a proto-model is seldom built. Structural and thermal tests are conducted by using a simple model built for the purpose. Normally this phase takes two years. The second phase is design and fabrication of the flight model. This phase also takes two years in most projects. The third phase is integration and test of the flight model that take almost a year. After this test, which is conducted in the main ISAS campus at Sagamihara, the satellite is shipped to the launch site, Kagoshima Space Center in most cases.
In parallel with the development of the satellite, ISAS also develops the launch vehicle. Although the same type of launch vehicle, M-3SII, has been used for the launch of seven satellites since 1985, each vehicle was designed to fulfill the specific requirements of the mission and was improved at each successive launch by incorporating new technologies. Mission orbit design was also conducted by the ISAS engineering team.
At the Uchinoura Space Center, the spacecraft is docked to the launch vehicle and the pre-launch test is conducted. The launch team consists of ISAS faculty members and technical staff in charge of the launch system, members of the Project Team from outside ISAS, and engineers from contractors. It is led by the Launch Supervisor who is a senior professor in one of ISAS's engineering divisions. Decisions on the launch operation are made at the meeting of the chiefs of the various departments of the launch system and the satellite.
Telemetry from the spacecraft is received either by the 10 m, 20 m or 34 m antenna at the Uchinoura Space Center or by the 64 m antenna at the Usuda Deep Space Center. Satellites are controlled from either of these Centers, or sometimes remotely from the control room at the Sagamihara campus. Routine operation of the spacecraft is handled by scientists, both inside and outside ISAS, of the Project Implementation Team with assistance from the contractors. Foreign members of the Team also take part in the routine operation.
Sounding rocket projects are selected and implemented in a similar but simpler manner to that used for satellite projects. The Scientific Balloon Committee also handles balloon projects in a similar manner at the ISAS Taiki Balloon Center for balloon launches.
For a typical example of mission management at ISAS, see ASCA management.