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245 – Glaciology Research at the Darwin Glacier

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(average: 4.09)
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During my visit to DLR’s Earth Observation Center earlier this year I also talked to Dana Floricioiu about her work in glaciology. We discuss a couple of her recent publications, and then focus on her trip to the Darwin Glacier in Antarctica. Together with a team of fellow scientists, she camped on the glacier for three weeks to conduct various in-situ experiments. We discussed the work, but also life on the glacier.

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243 – Formal Specification and Proof

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(average: 4.45)
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The increasing complexity of software requires increasingly sophisticated means of ensuring its correctness — “just” testing is not necessarily good enough, depending on the domain in which the software is used. Formal specification, verification and proof is a field with a long tradition in computer science that is gaining more (practical) relevance these days; and in this episode, we cover the basics. Our guest is Benjamin Pierce, professor of computer science at UPenn. We discuss the nature of (good) specifications, how verification and proof is different from testing, and where and how these techniques are successfully used today.

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242 – Satellite Testing at ESTEC

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(average: 4.69)
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This is the last episode recorded during my visit to ESA‘s ESTEC last fall. I get a tour of the Test Centre with the head of the section, Mark Wagner. We discuss the various test stands and facilities, including the thermal vacuum facility, the large space simulator, the thermal vacuum chamber, the vibration facilities, electromagnetic testing and acoustic testing.

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241 – Electric Propulsion of Spacecraft

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(average: 4.71)
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During my visit to ESA‘s ESTEC last fall, I talked to Jose Gonzalez del Amo, who is the head of the Electric Propulsion Lab. We discussed the basics of electric propulsion, the pros and cons compared to chemical engines, different engine styles and their use cases, as well as the work ESA performs in the lab.

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239 – The Saturn V Launch Vehicle

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(average: 4.85)
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David Woods has a new book out, so of course he has to talk about it on omega tau :-) His recent book is about the Saturn V launch vehicle, i.e., this time it is about the rocket, not about the spaceship. In this episode we dive into lots of details that we did not cover in the two Apollo episodes (episodes 83 and 97) — make sure you have listened to those before you listen to this one.

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