Latest Space News
Fri, 31 Jul 2015 10:16:00 +0100
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii have made independent confirmations of an exoplanet orbiting far from its central star. The planet was discovered through a technique called gravitational microlensing. This finding opens a new piece of discovery space in the extrasolar planet hunt: to uncover planets as far from their central stars as Jupiter and Saturn are from our sun. The Hubble and Keck Observatory results will appear in two papers in the Jul...
Fri, 31 Jul 2015 09:30:00 +0100
Ariane Flight VA225 Eutelsat Communications' EUTELSAT 8 West B telecommunications satellite is being "topped off" this week at the Spaceport, in preparation for its August 20 launch from French Guiana on Ariane 5 Flight VA225. Fueling activity for the EUTELSAT 8 West B spacecraft is occurring in the S5B preparation hall at Arianespace's South American operations base, readying the satellite for its subsequent integration in the upper position of the Ariane 5 heavy-lift workhorse's dual-pay...
Thu, 30 Jul 2015 23:30:00 +0100
The world's largest ground-based solar telescope is one step closer to operation with the acceptance of the deformable mirror engineered by AOA Xinetics, a Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) company. The Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST), currently under construction on Haleakala on the island of Maui, Hawaii, will offer unprecedented high-resolution images of the sun using the latest adaptive optics technology to provide its distortion-free imaging. Led by the National Solar Obse...
Thu, 30 Jul 2015 23:15:00 +0100
NASA has selected five proposals submitted to its Explorers Program to conduct focused scientific investigations and develop instruments that fill the scientific gaps between the agency's larger missions. The selected proposals, three Astrophysics Small Explorer missions and two Explorer Missions of Opportunity, will study polarized X-ray emissions from neutron star-black hole binary systems, the exponential expansion of space in the early universe, galaxies in the early universe, and star ...
Thu, 30 Jul 2015 21:14:00 +0100
Using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers have confirmed the discovery of the nearest rocky planet outside our solar system, larger than Earth and a potential gold mine of science data. Dubbed HD 219134b, this exoplanet, which orbits too close to its star to sustain life, is a mere 21 light-years away. While the planet itself can't be seen directly, even by telescopes, the star it orbits is visible to the naked eye in dark skies in the Cassiopeia constellation, near the North Star. ...
Thu, 30 Jul 2015 20:00:00 +0100
Complex molecules that could be key building blocks of life, the daily rise and fall of temperature, and an assessment of the surface properties and internal structure of the comet are just some of the highlights of the first scientific analysis of the data returned by Rosetta's lander Philae last November. Early results from Philae's first suite of scientific observations of Comet 67P/Churyumov--Gerasimenko were published today in a special edition of the journal Science. Data were obta...
Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:30:00 +0100
Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) engineers have successfully completed testing of design changes made to the NASA Orion spacecraft's fairing separation system. These changes resulted from data collected during Orion's first test flight on Dec. 5, 2014. A finished Orion spacecraft has three fairings, or panels, that protect the service module radiators and solar arrays from heat, wind and acoustics during ascent into space. For the purposes of collecting data during these tests, only one fairing was...
Thu, 30 Jul 2015 11:41:00 +0100
ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli will be heading for space a third time, as part of Expeditions 52 and 53 to the International Space Station. He will be launched on a Soyuz vehicle in May 2017 on a five-month mission. The new mission is part of a barter agreement between NASA and Italy's ASI space agency involving ESA astronauts. It will be ASI's third long-duration flight, following Luca Parmitano's Volare in 2013 and Samantha Cristoforetti's Futura this year. Paolo's first spaceflight was his...
Thu, 30 Jul 2015 08:27:00 +0100
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter successfully completed a maneuver on July 29, 2015, to put the spacecraft in the right place on Sept. 28, 2016, for supporting arrival of the InSight Mars lander mission. The maneuver's engine burn began at 6:21:31 a.m. PDT (13:21:31 UTC) and lasted for 75 seconds. With its biggest orbit maneuver since 2006, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) will prepare this week for the arrival of NASA's next Mars lander, InSight, next year. ...
Thu, 30 Jul 2015 08:11:00 +0100
Vega Flight VV06 Elements have arrived in French Guiana for the next Vega launcher, which is scheduled for a November mission from the Spaceport to deploy Europe's LISA Pathfinder - a pioneering scientific spacecraft that will set the stage for observing the Universe in a completely new way. The Zefiro 23 and Zefiro 9 stages for Arianespace's lightweight launcher were delivered to French Guiana this month aboard the MN Toucan, one of two ships regularly utilized for transporting Arianesp...
Wed, 29 Jul 2015 22:08:00 +0100
Raytheon (NYSE: RTN) has installed the first operational hardware for the Global Positioning System's Next Generation Operational Control System, known as GPS OCX. The new ground command and control system will significantly modernize U.S. GPS capabilities and manage the next generation of GPS satellites. Installation of the Launch and Checkout System (LCS) hardware was completed in early July at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado , the eventual home for the new GPS OCX Master Control Station....
Wed, 29 Jul 2015 12:00:00 +0100
The chemical element lithium has been found for the first time in material ejected by a nova. Observations of Nova Centauri 2013 made using telescopes at ESO's La Silla Observatory, and near Santiago in Chile, help to explain the mystery of why many young stars seem to have more of this chemical element than expected. This new finding fills in a long-missing piece in the puzzle representing our galaxy's chemical evolution, and is a big step forward for astronomers trying to understand the amount...
Wed, 29 Jul 2015 07:37:00 +0100
Ariane Flight VA225 Payload preparations for Arianespace's next Ariane 5 mission have marked a new milestone in French Guiana, with the EUTELSAT 8 West B telecommunications satellite undergoing its initial fit-check with launcher hardware. This important step during Arianespace Ariane 5 mission campaigns at the Spaceport validated the compatibility of Eutelsat Communications' EUTELSAT 8 West B with the cone-shaped adapter that will be used in its integration on the heavy-lift launcher. ...
Tue, 28 Jul 2015 20:03:00 +0100
NASA has selected Wyle Laboratories Inc., of El Segundo, California, to provide biomedical, medical and health services in support of all human spaceflight programs at the agency's Johnson Space Center in Houston. The work supports ongoing research aboard the International Space Station and helps enable the journey to Mars. The Human Health and Performance contract begins Oct. 1 and has a maximum potential value of $1.44 billion, including a five-year base period followed by one three-year op...
Tue, 28 Jul 2015 14:00:00 +0100
Engility Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: EGL), today announced that TASC, an Engility company has been awarded a $67 million contract to provide systems engineering and integration (SE&I) for the U.S. Air Force Global Positioning Systems (GPS) Directorate, the agency responsible for ensuring the space-based satellite navigation system is operational. The contract, known as the GPS SE&I, has a two-year base with options to extend TASC's support to 6.5 years with a value of more than $200 million. The aw...
Mon, 27 Jul 2015 18:19:00 +0100
StemRad, Ltd. and Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) have initiated a joint research and development effort to determine if StemRad's radiation shielding technology - originally designed for first-responders - could help to keep astronauts safe on deep-space exploration missions. This collaboration is part of Lockheed Martin's ongoing effort to establish international partnerships for human exploration of deep-space. As designed now, the StemRad 360 Gamma is a wearable vest that protects first-respo...
Mon, 27 Jul 2015 14:36:00 +0100
Europe's ninth and tenth Galileo satellites have crossed the Atlantic, touching down in French Guiana ahead of their joint launch this September. The delicate navigation satellites made their journey within environmentally controlled containers, having passed a gamut of tests to confirm their readiness for space. The pair left ESA's ESTEC technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, last Thursday by road for to Luxembourg Findel Airport. On Friday morning the duo flew by Luxair 747 a...
Mon, 27 Jul 2015 11:30:00 +0100
On 26 July at 09:30 GMT (11:30 CEST), ESA handed control of Europe's last Meteosat Second Generation weather satellite, MSG-4, to EUMETSAT This follows the launch of the satellite on 15 July aboard an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana, and the Launch and Early Orbit Phase carried out by ESA's European Space Operations Centre, ESOC, on EUMETSAT's behalf. During the last 11 days, the satellite was moved into geostationary orbit and the various elements of its platform ...
Mon, 27 Jul 2015 10:22:00 +0100
A fast-moving pulsar appears to have punched a hole in a disk of gas around its companion star and launched a fragment of the disk outward at a speed of about 40 million miles per hour. NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory is tracking this cosmic clump, which appears to be picking up speed as it moves out. The double star system PSR B1259-63/LS 2883 – or B1259 for short – contains a star about 30 times as massive as the Sun and a pulsar, an ultra-dense neutron star left behi...
Fri, 24 Jul 2015 20:25:00 +0100
Flowing ice and a surprising extended haze are among the newest discoveries from NASA's New Horizons mission, which reveal distant Pluto to be an icy world of wonders. "We knew that a mission to Pluto would bring some surprises, and now -- 10 days after closest approach -- we can say that our expectation has been more than surpassed," said John Grunsfeld, NASA's associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate. "With flowing ices, exotic surface chemistry, mountain ranges, and vast...
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    CV: Software Engineer

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    Personal information
     Name:<withheld>
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    Candidate Profile
     Date Submitted:27-08-2009
     Last Modified:28-08-2009 (09:00)
    Job information
     Current job:Software Engineer
     Employment Term:Either
     Job location:Anywhere
     Date available:immediately
     Industry:,
     KeywordsI am an experienced Java, C/C++ and Python developer with Physics/Astrophysics background. Most recently I was working in the semi-conductor industry on advanced optical metrology equipment, writing image processing, data analysis algorithms and memory op
    CV

    Date of Birth:                                       03/08/1967

    Employment history:                          

     

    Current Position                                   Visiting Lecturer in IT

                                                                    Birmingham City College.

     

    Dec 2006 – Dec 2008                            C/C++ Java Python Developer/Software Engineer

                                                                    KLA-Tencor Ltd,

                                                                    4 The Business Centre,

                                                                    Wokingham,

                                                                    Berks,

                                                                    RG41 2QZ.

     

                                                                    KLA-Tencor is an international and world-leading supplier of
    high-precision wafer inspection metrology equipment and technology to the semiconductor industry whose clients include Intel, IBM, AMD,
    Siemens and Qimonda, among others. At KLA I worked as a software
    developer as part of a dynamic engineering team developing an advanced, multi-threaded Java-based middle-ware application. I was involved across the complete development cycle from design through to unit testing with JUnit. The dynamic management of the application made heavy use of Python and XML for configuration, calibration and logging purposes. JDBC was used to communicate with SQL databases at runtime to store the results obtained during processing. Development and debugging were carried out primarily using Eclipse and Borland JBuilder.  The application would sit between the lower-level image computers, perform digital image processing operations on images of the semiconductor surface, search for and locate critical defects hidden within vast quantities of data and then communicate the results with a Windows-based main user interface via a CORBA bridge. A Swing graphical user interface allowed the application to be used independently to control the inspection process and also act as a diagnostics utility. JMX and JProbe were used to diagnose the use of system resources in real-time for subsequent memory optimization purposes. An important project where I made a significant contribution involved optimizing the program’s memory consumption such that the system requirements were reduced by an order of magnitude and also halved the machine set-up time. The resulting improvements are now being rolled out across the company’s product line. Apart from optimization techniques, I implemented general purpose image processing algorithms, performed data analysis and modeling in Java and C/C++ as well as in Mathcad and Excel. In addition I was required to expand and enhance the graphical user interfaces using Swing, submit general bug fixes, refactor and maintain existing code to make it more efficient and also propose, advocate, develop and fully document new features to the ongoing software development process. I particularly enjoyed writing reports to argue the case for new features and optimization proposals. My role also involved keeping the in-house developers’ website up to data using PHP and Java Server Pages (JSP) as well maintaining the projects numerous wiki pages. My development was primarily undertaken in Eclipse (JDKs 1.3/1.4/1.5/1.6), Clearcase versioning system using Java, C/C++, JPython and XML on both Windows and Linux environments.

     

     

    Sep 2006 – Dec 2006                            Lecturer in Physics, Mathematics and IT at Halesowen College.

                                                                    Whittingham Road,

                                                                    Halesowen,

                                                                    West Midlands,

                                                                    B63 3NA.

     

                                                                    Teaching of A-Level Physics, GCSE Mathematics, and NVQ Information Technology. My duties involved preparing lectures as well as the setting and marking of coursework.

     

    Jan  2006 – Aug 2006                           Java/C#/. net Programmer/Web Developer (self-employed)

    My work required me to develop on both Windows and Linux based platforms. Projects involved the development of database-driven websites using ASP.Net, mono, Java (JDBC), C#, mySQL and Microsoft SQL Server. I’m quite happy coding using IDEs such as Eclipse, Visual C++/C#/Web Developer as well as a text-based approach using emacs on Linux or Unix platforms.                                           

     

    1996 – 2005                                         During this period I returned to higher education, first to do an undergraduate degree in Physics with Astrophysics and then a post-graduate degree in Solar Physics (see “Education and Research” below).

     

    1994 – 1996                                            Freelance 3D computer graphics programmer and designer

                                                                    My principal work involved using Autodesk’s 3D Studio to create 3D                                                                     animations for high-profile corporate events. Clients included Rolls                                                                         Royce, MG Rover, Amtrak and American Express.

     

    1989 – 1993                                            Visual designer and partner

                                                                    BDE Visual Productions,

                                                                    Digbeth, Birmingham.

     

    I started and ran my own business creating large stage sets and backdrops for the rock and roll industry. Clients at the time included, amongst others, The Wonder Stuff and Pop Will Eat Itself. We were one of the first companies to use computers to transfer artwork onto 40+ ft wide canvases for use at rock concerts. Many of the pieces we produced were toured nationally and internationally, appearing at the Reading Pop Festival, Glastonbury and also in The Wonder Stuff’s film “Welcome to the Cheap Seats”.

     

    1985 – 1989                                            Quantity Surveyor

                                                                    RM Douglas Construction Ltd,

                                                                    George Street, Birmingham.               

     

     

     

    Scientific Research:

     

    2001 – 2005                                            M.Phil in Helioseismology.

                                                                    HiROS – High Resolution Optical Spectroscopy

    BiSON - Birmingham Solar Oscillations Network

    The University of Birmingham,

    Edgbaston,

                                                                    B15 2TT.

     

    The High Resolution Optical Spectroscopy (HiROS) group is a small but internationally renowned research group based at the University of Birmingham. It operates a global network of solar observatories (BiSON) and has pioneered and maintained its premiere position in the field of Helioseismology (see http://bison.ph.bham.ac.uk). Working within the HiROS team, my research involved using digital signal processing techniques to extract seismic information relating to the global modes of oscillations of the Sun’s surface, present in large data sets. Doppler measurements of the motion of the solar surface are detected here on Earth by the use of atomic resonance spectrometers. The signal can be decomposed using Fourier analysis to determine the resonant frequencies of the modes of oscillation. In addition, the signal can be usefully analyzed by other techniques to yield information about the resonant modes of the Sun, e.g. genetic algorithms. My work required the writing of custom digital signal processing (DSP) software written in several computer languages (Java, C/C++, FORTRAN) across a range of hardware platforms (i.e. Windows, Linux and Unix.) The applications made extensive use of object oriented design (OOD) in order to make them as modular and easily extendable as possible. The software was specifically designed to extract frequency and phase information from the resonant modes of oscillation of the solar signal.  The data could be statistically analyzed and also processed (e.g. smoothed) using a series of digital filters selected via an intuitive Swing GUI front-end. I was particularly pleased that the software was able to automatically process large datasets, which had previously taken days to analyze, in a few seconds. In addition to writing data processing/DSP software, I wrote a dedicated application to process real-time data over the internet using the UDP network protocol which could also access remote SQL databases over the internet using the JDBC API.

     

    Summer 1997                                         I partook in a project searching for comets in archive data from the NASA/ESA SOHO spacecraft using both an automated software approach as well as a more conventional, “by eye” search. I was responsible for the discovery of nine previously unknown so-called “sungrazing” comets. The results were published in the Minor Planet Electronic Circulars and International Astronomical Union Circulars, 1997.

     

    Education:

     

    1996 – 2000                                            2:1 MSci Degree in Physics with Astrophysics

                                                                    Department Of Physics and Astronomy,

                                                                    The University of Birmingham,

                                                                    Edgbaston,

                                                                    Birmingham,

                                                                    B15 2TT.

                                                                   

     

    1994 - 1996                                             A-Levels:

    Physics, Mathematics.       

                                                                    Mathew Boulton Technical College,

                                                                    Sherlock Street,

                                                                    Birmingham.

                                                                   

    1979 – 1985                                            Secondary Education:

                                                                    A Level Computer Science.

                                                                    AS Level General Studies.

                                                                    O Levels: Mathematics, English, Physics, Computer Science, Art, English Literature, R.E.

    CSE: French and History.

     

    Computer Languages/Skills:           I have been enthusiastically programming computers in some shape or form since 1981 in industry, scientific research and as a hobbyist. As part of my post-graduate research I wrote several digital signal processing packages, mainly in Object Oriented languages such as Java and C++ but also lower-level languages such as C and FORTRAN. My post-research activities have seen me moving to a more web-based approach involving the use of technologies such as ASP.Net, C# and mono and, of course, Java. In industry I have had to constantly update my Java (J2SE & J2EE) centred skills, including creating graphical user interfaces using the Swing API, JDBC database connectivity (with Oracle 10.9g, MySQL and PostgreSQL), Java & HTML/XML/XSL, JSP, JMX, Web Services (incl. amazon and eBay), JUnit as well as use of 3rd party APIs such as JSci. In industry, and while undertaking my Solar Physics research, I continued to develop other numerical skills including data analysis and mathematical modeling techniques using Mathcad, SciLab and MS Excel. In addition to higher level languages I am currently enjoying programming of the Freescale DSP56300 using the Line 6 ToneCore developers kit (see ‘Music’ below). I am also familiar with Z80 microprocessor assembly language and programming embedded C and Java applications for simple robots using the OOPic microcontroller. As well as programming on the Windows platform I particularly enjoy using Linux (currently Ubuntu 9.04 and openSuSE 11.1).

     

    Creative Interests:                              Robotics and Electronics: Working with a prominent Birmingham (UK) artist, I acted as technical advisor on a project to build several solar and battery powered robots for an exhibition held at the Midlands Art Centre (MAC) in Birmingham. As well as the robots in the show, many of the artist’s paintings were fitted with sound activated lights that enabled the visitors to interact dynamically with the exhibition.

     

                                                                    Music: One of my music related hobbies is programming my own guitar effects pedals using the Line 6 ToneCore developers kit. The kit utilizes the Freescale 56300 series of DSP chips and allows me to write my own DSP filters and effects (e.g. auto-wah, chorus, delay etc) in assembly language and/or C. These are then downloaded from the PC and flashed into the onboard ROM of a special ToneCore pedal for real-time signal processing of my guitar input.

     

                                                                    android: I am currently developing applications using Google’s android API for mobile devices. I intend to have these available for download and evaluation shortly via Google’s android marketplace.

     

    Publications:                                        Using The BiSON Signal to Probe The Photosphere’ – Published in SOHO 12/GONG 2002 Conference Proceedings.

     

    Discovery of nine SOHO sungrazing comets published in Minor Planet Electronic Circulars and International Astronomical Union Circulars 1997.

     

    Interpersonal Skills:                          Teaching: As a postgraduate at Birmingham University, I assisted with teaching of three undergraduate course modules - ‘Introducing C/C++’, ‘Astrolab’ and 1st year laboratory experiments. On leaving Birmingham I taught Physics A-Level as well as Mathematics, IT and Forensic Science at Halesowen College (see above).

     

    Negotiation: I was elected to be the postgraduate representative on the Birmingham University School of Physics and Astronomy Graduate Studies Committee. My duties involved meeting with members of the University staff to incorporate the ideas and contributions of my fellow postgraduates into the running of the department.

     

    References:                                          Available on request.

     


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