Last fall I visited ESTEC, ESA’s space research and technology center. In this first of three episodes, I talk with Maria Hernek, who heads the Flight Software Systems section. We talk about the challenges of space flight software, the development processes used by ESA and its vendors, as well as means of ensuring the required quality attributes. This episode can be seen as a continuation of the conversation with Andreas Wortmann in the OHB episode.
Rick Ruiz is a pilot for Atlas Air where he flies various versions of the Boeing 747 freighter. Previously he flew the 767 and the 777 for LAN Chile, primarily cargo as well. Rick is also a crew member of the Airline Pilot Guy podcast, where he is known as Miami Rick. In this episode, we stroll through the woods around Landstuhl, Germany, where I visited Rick while he was on a layover. We geek out about flying the Big Boeings.
Last fall I visited EPFL for a programming languages workshop when I saw a poster on bio inspired systems. Darja’s name was on the poster because she coordinates the programme; I sent her an email and asked if she wanted to talk a bit with me about this field while I am at EPFL. Her calendar had some free time, and so we met. In the episode we discuss why it makes sense for system designers to look at biology and nature as an inspiration and then explore lots of examples that are currently being researched at EPFL.
Particle accelerators are the backbone of today’s particle physics research and help us understand the smallest building blocks our world is made of. To understand this deeper, more powerful accelerators are needed, beyond what is possible with today’s LHC. The world’s physics community is continuously running studies to explore science questions and evaluate the required accelerators; one of those the studies is the Future Circular Collider study led by CERN. In this episode we discuss the science questions as well as the core engineering challenges with the two leaders of the FCC study, Michael Benedikt and Frank Zimmermann.
The sea ice in the arctic and antarctic regions of the earth is an especially sensitive indicator of the earth’s climate, and in particular, the current overall atmospheric temperature of the planet. It was recently reported to have reached a new low. Our guest, NASA’s Walt Meier explains why this is the case and which processes govern the increase or decrease of the ice. We then discuss how the ice mass is measured based on satellite and how its thickness is estimated based mostly on in-situ measurements. We cover climate modeling and its connection to sea ice and conclude with an outlook on future research.