Latest Space News
Wed, 19 Oct 2016 20:55:00 +0100
The Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) of ESA's ExoMars 2016 has successfully performed the long 139-minute burn required to be captured by Mars and entered an elliptical orbit around the Red Planet, while contact has not yet been confirmed with the mission's test lander from the surface. TGO's Mars orbit Insertion burn lasted from 13:05 to 15:24 GMT on 19 October, reducing the spacecraft's speed and direction by more than 1.5 km/s. The TGO is now on its planned orbit around Mars. European Space Agency ...
Wed, 19 Oct 2016 15:03:00 +0100
The U.S. Navy awarded Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) a $255 million contract for development and production readiness of its next generation precision landing system. The Joint Precision Approach and Landing System uses GPS satellite navigation to provide more accurate landing guidance for manned and unmanned aircraft, replacing radar and beacons used in older systems. This contract was announced by the Department of Defense on Sept. 21. The contract includes options which, if exercised, wou...
Wed, 19 Oct 2016 11:18:00 +0100
Three crew members representing the United States and Russia are on their way to the International Space Station after launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:05 a.m. EDT Wednesday (2:05 p.m. Baikonur time). The Soyuz spacecraft carrying astronaut Shane Kimbrough of NASA, and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, is scheduled to dock to the Poisk module of the space station at 5:59 a.m. Friday, Oct. 21. NASA Television coverag...
Tue, 18 Oct 2016 04:38:00 +0100
Orbital ATK, Inc. (NYSE:OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, successfully launched its AntaresTM rocket carrying a CygnusTM spacecraft today at 7:45 p.m. EDT, marking its return to flight operations from NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia. The launch is Orbital ATK's sixth cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station for NASA. During the mission, designated OA-5, Cygnus will deliver vital equipment, supplies and experiments to astronauts ...
Mon, 17 Oct 2016 22:17:00 +0100
New global images of Mars from the MAVEN mission show the ultraviolet glow from the Martian atmosphere in unprecedented detail, revealing dynamic, previously invisible behavior. They include the first images of "nightglow" that can be used to show how winds circulate at high altitudes. Additionally, dayside ultraviolet imagery from the spacecraft shows how ozone amounts change over the seasons and how afternoon clouds form over giant Martian volcanoes. The images were taken by the Imaging UltraV...
Mon, 17 Oct 2016 21:29:00 +0100
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has worked with the Air Force to develop an advanced telescope that already is revolutionizing space situational awareness and helping prevent potential collisions with satellites or planet Earth. At an event tomorrow in New Mexico, DARPA will formally transition its Space Surveillance Telescope, or SST, from an agency-led design and construction program to ownership and operation by U.S. Air Force Space Command, which has announced plans to opera...
Sun, 16 Oct 2016 00:28:00 +0100
Orbital ATK (NYSE:OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, today announced it is prepared to launch the company's AntaresTM rocket carrying its CygnusTM cargo spacecraft. Pending completion of final vehicle testing and acceptable local weather conditions, the Antares launch of the mission, designated OA-5, will take place on October 16 with lift-off scheduled for 8:03 p.m. EDT. The OA-5 mission will be Orbital ATK's fifth operational cargo delivery mission for NASA and mark...
Fri, 14 Oct 2016 10:59:00 +0100
Next week, ESA's ExoMars has just a single chance to get captured by Mars' gravity. The spacecraft and the mission controllers who will make it so are ready for arrival. The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter is on a multiyear mission to understand the methane and other gases in Mars' atmosphere at low levels and could be evidence for possible biological or geological activity. The 3.7 tonne mothership is carrying the 577 kg Schiaparelli lander that will test key technologies in preparation for ESA...
Thu, 13 Oct 2016 23:31:00 +0100
United Launch Alliance (ULA) and The Boeing Company today unveiled an updated aerodynamic configuration of the Atlas V that will launch Boeing's CST-100 Starliner capsule for NASA after encountering unique challenges with aerodynamic stability and loads. This new configuration incorporates an aeroskirt aft of the spacecraft, extending the Starliner Service Module cylindrical surface to improve the aerodynamic characteristics of the integrated launch configuration and bring loads margins back ...
Thu, 13 Oct 2016 16:00:00 +0100
The moon experiences a heavier bombardment by small meteoroids than models had predicted, according to new observations from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft. The result implies that lunar surface features thought to be young because they have relatively few impact craters may be even younger than previous estimates. The finding also implies that equipment placed on the moon for long durations -- such as a lunar base -- may have to be made sturdier. While a direct hit from...
Wed, 12 Oct 2016 16:00:00 +0100
Raytheon (NYSE: RTN) has reached another milestone in its development of the U.S. Air Force's Global Positioning System Next Generation Operational Control System, known as GPS OCX. This new system offers significant improvements to the GPS on which the U.S. military and millions of civilians rely, including enhanced availability, accuracy and security. OCX's development is delivered in "blocks," with Block 0 comprising the Launch and Checkout System to take GPS III satellites into early orbi...
Wed, 12 Oct 2016 12:53:00 +0100
SMi Reports (2016.10.12, London, UK): SMi have just announced, places are filling up fast for what is expected to be the biggest Global MilSatCom conference and exhibition to date. Global MilSatCom2016, taking place in London on the 8th-10th of November 2016 will bring together over 450 of the industry’s key senior military representatives alongside the world’s leading SatCom solution providers and operators. There will be over 120 military and government attendees from Australi...
Wed, 12 Oct 2016 12:00:00 +0100
Ancient stars, of a type known as RR Lyrae, have been discovered in the centre of the Milky Way for the first time, using ESO's infrared VISTA telescope. RR Lyrae stars typically reside in ancient stellar populations over 10 billion years old. Their discovery suggests that the bulging centre of the Milky Way likely grew through the merging of primordial star clusters. These stars may even be the remains of the most massive and oldest surviving star cluster of the entire Milky Way. A team led ...
Wed, 12 Oct 2016 11:00:00 +0100
As the ExoMars Schiaparelli module descends onto Mars on 19 October it will capture 15 images of the approaching surface. Scientists have simulated the view we can expect to see from the descent camera. Schiaparelli will separate from its mothership, the Trace Gas Orbiter, on 16 October, with some six million km still to travel before entering the atmosphere of Mars at 14:42 GMT three days later. Its descent will take just under six minutes, using a heatshield, parachute, thrusters and a c...
Tue, 11 Oct 2016 16:45:00 +0100
Nearly 21 years after its launch, a Lockheed Martin-built satellite within the Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) recently turned its attention to a new mission-supporting the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s Amundsen-Scott Station at the South Pole, where communicating with the rest of the world has always been a challenge. Amundsen-Scott Station's location at 90 degrees south, right at the South Pole, makes communications with the remote science station difficult. Even for or...
Tue, 11 Oct 2016 14:30:00 +0100
DULLES, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 11, 2016-- Orbital ATK, Inc. (NYSE:OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, today announced the company has been awarded its first contract with Eutelsat Communications (NYSE Euronext Paris:ETL) to build the EUTELSAT 5 West B satellite. The company will team with Airbus Defence and Space to build EUTELSAT 5 West B, marking the first time the two have partnered on satellite work. Relying on the two companies' extensive heritage in the satellit...
Tue, 11 Oct 2016 14:00:00 +0100
CopaSAT, a world leader in highly reliable and secure mobile communication technology, today announced that is has received a contract to provide the U.S. Coast Guard with managed satellite services to Coast Guard Cutter Healy and Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star. The contract started 1-October for a term of five years. HEALY is designed to conduct a wide range of research activities, providing more than 4,200 square feet of scientific laboratory space, numerous electronic sensor systems, ocean...
Mon, 10 Oct 2016 10:13:00 +0100
ESA and GomSpace Sign Contract to Launch Advanced Nanosatellite. GomSpace and ESA have signed a contract to continue development, launch and operations of the GOMX-4B spacecraft to be launched before the end of 2017. The satellite will demonstrate key capabilities required for future nano-satellite constellations. The contract value is 1.2 MEUR. The satellite will be a so called 6U cubesat with dimension of 20x30x10 cm and weight of approximately 8 kilograms. The satellite will be launched...
Fri, 7 Oct 2016 09:50:00 +0100
This week, the commands that will govern the Schiaparelli lander's descent and touchdown on Mars were uploaded to ESA's ExoMars spacecraft, enroute to the Red Planet. The Trace Gas Orbiter has been carrying the Schiaparelli entry, descent and landing demonstrator since launch on 14 March. Upon arrival on 19 October, Schiaparelli will test the technology needed for Europe's 2020 rover to land, while its parent craft brakes into an elliptical orbit around Mars. This week's uploading was cond...
Thu, 6 Oct 2016 17:08:00 +0100
NASA and the agency's industry team for the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion spacecraft are concluding a successful summer of testing in preparation for the first integrated flight. The uncrewed, three-week mission, currently designated Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), is scheduled for late 2018. During the mission, SLS will send Orion about 40,000 miles beyond the moon during a flight that will be farther from Earth than any spacecraft built to carry humans has ever traveled. This...
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     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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