Going to space with the Space Society

When you’re a student at Imperial, you don’t have to stick just to classes and coursework. You can do many extracurricular activities by joining one of over 300 clubs and societies. As a space enthusiast, I’ve decided to get involved in the Space Society this year.

The Space Society logo
The logo of the Space Society (ICSS stands for Imperial College Space Society).

More specifically, I’ve joined the CubeSat team which meets every Monday evening. Our aim is to make a satellite (for the UKSEDS Satellite Design Competition) which studies a hostile lunar-like environment. I’m currently in the Sensors & Data Handling group responsible for choosing, programming and obtaining meaningful data from sensors.

Here’s what we’ve done so far…

Preliminary design

At the beginning, we had to think about how to detect heat and electromagnetic sources in the target environment. We came up with many different ideas. For example, I proposed using a thermal camera for studying heat sources and researched possible options, including prices. My idea turned out to be so useful that it was added to the final configuration 🙂

When we decided on our ultimate choice of sensors, we created a write-up outlining what devices we picked and why. The write-up became a part of the team’s preliminary design document that described how we would design our satellite in general.

Critical design

Once we finished our preliminary design stage, we began the critical design step. This basically means designing our satellite in more detail. We haven’t done much here yet, but I already had a chance to create simple sensor models in CAD. By doing so, we can easily decide later on the physical layout of sensors in the satellite.

Even though most of our activities concentrate on pure design now, I can already see how useful the project is for my personal growth. I seriously consider working as a computer scientist in the space sector, so developing skills necessary for a successful career there will definitely help me in the future. And there’s a lot of fun of course, especially when you get to know other space-minded people!

Therefore, joining a society is a great way to enhance your experience at Imperial and do something different than your main course. Don’t underestimate the power of that!

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