Latest Space News
Thu, 26 Nov 2015 08:17:00 +0100
For the 11th launch of 2015 from the Guiana Space Center, the Vega light launcher on its overall sixth mission, this time on behalf of ESA, will orbit the LISA Pathfinder technology demonstrator, into an elliptical low earth orbit for a mission to the L1 Lagrange point. With this seventh launch of the year overall for European Governments, this time focusing on space research and science, Arianespace, once again, reflects the company's assigned mission of ensuring independent access to space ...
Thu, 26 Nov 2015 08:13:00 +0100
One of the most recognizable constellations in the sky is Orion, the Hunter. Among Orion’s best-known features is the “belt,” consisting of three bright stars in a line, each of which can be seen without a telescope. The westernmost star in Orion’s belt is known officially as Delta Orionis. (Since it has been observed for centuries by sky-watchers around the world, it also goes by many other names in various cultures, like “Mintaka”.) Modern astronomers...
Wed, 25 Nov 2015 16:36:00 +0100
NASA has successfully installed the first of 18 flight mirrors onto the James Webb Space Telescope, beginning a critical piece of the observatory's construction. In the clean room at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland this week, the engineering team used a robot arm to lift and lower the hexagonal-shaped segment that measures just over 4.2 feet (1.3 meters) across and weighs approximately 88 pounds (40 kilograms). After being pieced together, the 18 primary mirror segme...
Wed, 25 Nov 2015 13:00:00 +0100
The two ExoMars spacecraft of the 2016 mission are being prepared for shipping to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan ahead of their launch in March. A joint endeavour with Russia's Roscosmos space agency, ExoMars comprises two missions. The Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and Schiaparelli make up the 2016 mission, while the 2018 mission will combine a rover and a surface science platform. Both missions will be launched on Russian Proton rockets from Baikonur. TGO and Schiaparelli are undergoing...
Wed, 25 Nov 2015 12:00:00 +0100
A team of astronomers using ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) has captured the most detailed images ever of the hypergiant star VY Canis Majoris. These observations show how the unexpectedly large size of the particles of dust surrounding the star enable it to lose an enormous amount of mass as it begins to die. This process, understood now for the first time, is necessary to prepare such gigantic stars to meet explosive demises as supernovae. VY Canis Majoris is a stellar goliath, a red hyper...
Wed, 25 Nov 2015 08:12:00 +0100
Astronomers using data from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have detected hints of periodic changes in the brightness of a so-called "active" galaxy, whose emissions are powered by a supersized black hole. If confirmed, the discovery would mark the first years-long cyclic gamma-ray emission ever detected from any galaxy, which could provide new insights into physical processes near the black hole. "Looking at many years of data from Fermi's Large Area Telesco...
Tue, 24 Nov 2015 18:47:00 +0100
Thales Alenia Space announced today that the ExoMars 2016 spacecraft is about to leave the clean rooms at its plant in Cannes, where it is completing integration and testing, for shipment to the launch base in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. The launch campaign will then start, including propellant filling, final functional tests and mating with the launcher, for a launch scheduled in March 2016. ExoMars is a joint endeavor between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos...
Mon, 23 Nov 2015 21:23:00 +0100
A NASA instrument to monitor aerosols, the ozone layer, and other gases in our atmosphere from space arrived Friday, Nov. 20 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The instrument will now begin final preparations for launch to the International Space Station. The Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment III on the International Space Station, or SAGE III on ISS, was shipped to Florida from NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. The SAGE III instrument, developed at NASA Lang...
Mon, 23 Nov 2015 18:12:00 +0100
Last week, NASA announced that it had selected Virgin Galactic as a partner in its Collaborative Opportunities program. As part of this new partnership, NASA will provide Virgin Galactic with technical expertise and access to test facilities to aid the development of our LauncherOne small satellite launch service. Specifically, NASA's Ames Research Center experts will provide analysis, simulation, and expertise related to LauncherOne's concept of operations, aerodynamics system, thermal protecti...
Mon, 23 Nov 2015 08:35:00 +0100
Researchers using NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have discovered the first gamma-ray pulsar in a galaxy other than our own. The object sets a new record for the most luminous gamma-ray pulsar known.  The pulsar lies in the outskirts of the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small galaxy that orbits our Milky Way and is located 163,000 light-years away. The Tarantula Nebula is the largest, most active and most complex star-formation region in our galactic ne...
Fri, 20 Nov 2015 22:38:00 +0100
NASA took a significant step Friday toward expanding research opportunities aboard the International Space Station with its first mission order from Hawthorne, California based-company SpaceX to launch astronauts from U.S. soil. This is the second in a series of four guaranteed orders NASA will make under the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts. The Boeing Company of Houston received its first crew mission order in May. "It's really exciting to see SpaceX and Boein...
Fri, 20 Nov 2015 14:43:00 +0100
The latest satellite for the European Commission's Copernicus environmental programme has left France bound for the Plesetsk launch site in Russia and launch late next month. Carrying a suite of state-of-the-art instruments, Sentinel-3A is set to provide an unprecedented step forward in the Copernicus marine, land, atmosphere and climate change services. The satellite began its two-day journey from Thales Alenia Space in Cannes to Nice airport by lorry during the night. An Antonov aircraft...
Thu, 19 Nov 2015 14:00:00 +0100
Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) successfully completed three preliminary launch readiness events which are important milestones in preparing to launch the modernized Global Positioning System (GPS) system. The new system will benefit millions of people worldwide who rely on GPS for its positioning, navigation, and timing capabilities. The three exercise events, completed over the summer, demonstrated the maturity and readiness of Raytheon's cyber-hardened Launch and Checkout System (LCS) to sup...
Wed, 18 Nov 2015 12:00:00 +0100
ESO's VISTA survey telescope has spied a horde of previously hidden massive galaxies that existed when the Universe was in its infancy. By discovering and studying more of these galaxies than ever before, astronomers have, for the first time, found out exactly when such monster galaxies first appeared. Just counting the number of galaxies in a patch of sky provides a way to test astronomers' theories of galaxy formation and evolution. However, such a simple task becomes increasingly hard as a...
Wed, 18 Nov 2015 11:49:00 +0100
Through a contract signed today with the European Space Agency (ESA), Airbus Defence and Space continues to develop Eurostar Neo, its new generation of platforms for geostationary telecommunication satellites. Under phase C/D of the NEOSAT programme, this contract will lead to the development of the complete Eurostar Neo product line. The NEOSAT programme was initiated by ESA and the French space agency CNES through the Investments for the Future Programme (PIA) and continues today, with ...
Mon, 16 Nov 2015 08:30:00 +0100
One of the most recognizable constellations in the sky is Orion, the Hunter. Among Orion’s best-known features is the “belt,” consisting of three bright stars in a line, each of which can be seen without a telescope. The westernmost star in Orion’s belt is known officially as Delta Orionis. (Since it has been observed for centuries by sky-watchers around the world, it also goes by many other names in various cultures, like “Mintaka”.) Modern astronomers...
Mon, 16 Nov 2015 06:00:00 +0100
Joint forces are using Joint Enterprise Network Manager, or JENM, a software application that manages lower tactical radio networks, to support the operational test of the Mobile User Objective System, or MUOS, the next generation of military satellite communication. The Navy's MUOS provides smartphone-like services to joint forces, with a beyond-line-of-sight data link that enables them to talk, text and share critical mission data seamlessly over MUOS-capable software defined radios, from a...
Thu, 12 Nov 2015 10:27:00 +0100
Thales Alenia Space announced today that it has signed a contract with BTRC, (Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission) to build the telecommunications satellite, Bangabandhu, winning the contract against an international field of competitors. This satellite will narrow the digital divide, as it will take broadcasting and telecommunication services to rural areas and introduce profitable services, including direct-to-home services, across the country and over the region. As program ...
Thu, 12 Nov 2015 10:00:00 +0100
One year since Philae made its historic landing on a comet, mission teams remain hopeful for renewed contact with the lander, while also looking ahead to next year's grand finale: making a controlled impact of the Rosetta orbiter on the comet. Rosetta arrived at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 6 August 2014, and after an initial survey and selection of a landing site, Philae was delivered to the surface on 12 November. After touching down in the Agilkia region as planned, Philae did not...
Wed, 11 Nov 2015 15:08:00 +0100
International Launch Services (ILS) announces a Multi-Launch Agreement with Intelsat (NYSE: I), the world's leading provider of satellite services, for five ILS Proton missions through 2023 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Multi-Launch Agreement is designed to provide Intelsat with increased flexibility in their fleet management and the necessary launch schedule assurance that they require. The five satellites, yet to be designated, will be launched using the Proton Breeze M l...
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    CV: Software Engineer

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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
     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

    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,



                                                                    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,


                                                                    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,


                                                                    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 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.




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

                                                                    Department Of Physics and Astronomy,

                                                                    The University of Birmingham,



                                                                    B15 2TT.



    1994 - 1996                                             A-Levels:

    Physics, Mathematics.       

                                                                    Mathew Boulton Technical College,

                                                                    Sherlock Street,



    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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