Jeremy Velardo Presentation
I joined the BIRDY project during my master degree in Astrophysics and Space Engineering. Our teachers gave us the choice between working on a retro-engineering project or a Cubesat one. When Boris presented the project, my choice was done and I knew I would not be disappointed!
As a computer enthusiastic, I felt naturally attracted by the On-Board-Data-Handling (OBDH) system and we started working in the beginning of October 2013 with one of my comrade on this topic. With only 50h in our timetable dedicated to the project, the first challenge was to quickly find some reference documents and bibliographical sources. As at this time we didn’t have any class of embedded system or avionics, we had to learn on the fly the basics in order to find effective technical solutions suitable for a Cubesat project, and more specifically suitable for an interplanetary Cubesat.
In mid-November, we had a meeting with an OBDH specialist, and we realized that we were on the wrong track mainly due to a lack of method in the way we were working. We redoubled efforts and it bore fruit at the end. We were able to produce the expected technical work with the proper assumptions made in the process. Surely if it were to be remade today, it is certain that I would not have approached some things the same way. We were the first to work on the OBDH system, so obviously there is still a lot of work remaining as we remained on the first level of complexity.
Today, I am often asked questions by recruiters about the experience. It is not quite common for students to get involved in such projects, and is definitively a plus for any application you submit in the space industry. Indeed, working on the project allowed me to step back on my work and to really get some hand-on experience that cannot be acquired in class during lectures. Contributing to the Birdy project is the chance to learn in a humanly and technically stimulating working environment, to think outside the box and to create significant added value in the field of space exploration.
In fact, as I am no longer a student but now a junior engineer, my only regret is to leave such an interesting project…