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Gabriella Costa: Head of Earth Explorer Payload Data Ground Segment

02/12/2013 912 views
ESA / Applications / Observing the Earth / Swarm

Gabriella Costa is the head the Earth Explorer Payload Data Ground Segment (PDGS) section, in the Earth Observation Ground Segment and Mission Operations Department. The Department is in charge of developing the Payload Data Ground Segments for all of ESA’s Earth Explorer missions.

Gabriella, an Italian national, began working at ESA’s Centre for Earth Observation (ESRIN) in Italy in 2009 as SeoSat PDGS Manager. In 2010, she assumed the role of EarthCARE PDGS Manager and was appointed to her current role in 2012. Since 2012, she has also been acting as Swarm PDGS Manager.

Before joining ESA, she worked for 10 years in industry supporting the implementation of the Payload Data Ground Segment for the Envisat, Cosmo-SkyMed and CryoSat-2 missions.

Gabriella earned her degree in Aerospace Engineering from the La Sapienza University in Rome, Italy.

ESA: What role does the Payload Data Ground Segment (PDGS) play in the Swarm mission?

Gabriella Costa

The Swarm Payload Data Ground Segment will be operated under the responsibility of the Earth Observation Ground Segment and Mission Operations Department in ESRIN. It will support all the functions needed to process raw data to high level products and their distribution to users. The Swarm PDGS will also implement functions for data quality control and for monitoring the behavior of the onboard instruments. In addition, the PDGS is in charge of the long-term archiving of the data and their eventual reprocessing as progress is made in algorithms definition.

ESA: Who will be the main users of Swarm data?

Gabriella Costa

The Swarm main users are worldwide scientists dealing with geodesy, geophysics, geomagnetism and space weather.

Information from Swarm will, in fact, provide new insight into our planet’s formation, dynamics and environment stretching from Earth’s core to the Sun, furthering our understanding of the core dynamics, geodynamo processes, core–mantle interaction and of the Sun’s influence on the Earth system.

ESA: How will Swarm data be delivered to users?

Gabriella Costa

Swarm data will be systematically generated and made available online. Swarm registered users, benefitting from the free and open access data policy for ESA’s Earth observation products, will be able to access these data directly through the internet. Both systematically generated data and data reprocessed following change on processing algorithms will be accessible in the same way.

ESA: What is the procedure for archiving data?

Gabriella Costa

Once processed, the data will be subject to quality control and then archived with relevant quality flag. Data are archived at the archiving, processing and dissemination facility in UK up to five years after satellite disposal. Copies will be archived for the long-term in a back-up archive in a different location.

Editor's note:
This is one in a series of interviews with a few of the key people that are involved in the Swam mission. Please check back as the list will be added to over the coming weeks.

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