The NASA mission in your backyard - Technical.ly Delaware

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Aug. 13, 2019 1:54 pm

The NASA mission in your backyard

University of Delaware students monitor solar flares in research that could save astronaut lives in the future.

UD undergraduates Jeffrey Neumann and Ahmad Tamimi.

(Courtesy photo by Evan Krape)

University of Delaware students, including study abroad students, are spending their summer working on a NASA CURIE mission led by UD and researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, UDaily reports.

CURIE stands for Cubesat Radio Interferometry Experiment, and the mission, based in Delaware at UD’s Sharp Lab in Newark and Mount Cuba Observatory in Greenville, involves small satellites that help scientists study plasma radiating from the sun, making future space travel safer and aiding in the development of plasma-using products like TVs and lights.

UDaily recently interviewed Jeffrey Neumann and Ahmad Tamimi, two students working on the project. Here’s a snippet about what they say a typical day is like:

Tamimi: A typical day of work would be laying out and building the communication systems between the computer at the ground station and the dish pointing to the satellites. Working/communicating with rotors, UPS systems, etc. Testing out the systems and making sure they are working the way they are supposed to, is essential. What’s even more important is that these systems work in unison and are reliable as they would be running continuously for five years. On some occasions, we visit Mount Cuba to lay out the conduit, and we plan on assembling a 3-meter-wide dish there in August.

Neumann: On a typical day, I will get into the lab around 8 a.m. and start coding in Python. I normally set out daily goals for myself such as implementing threading, optimizing code, documentation, etc. This helps me not get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of code (over 1,000 lines and counting). I would leave to go back to my dorm anywhere between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

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