8/4/2020 • The International Space Station agenda contains launching the application developed by Military Secondary School students in Moravska Trebova under tutoring of the Aircraft Technology Department teachers, Faculty of Military Technology, University of Defence. The application should run for 180 minutes, which roughly equals two orbits around the Earth. The secondary school students supported by university teachers compete through the application with the abilities of another more than two hundreds teams involved in Mission Space Lab competition.
We offer a computer on space ship board for usage and you think up and develop an application. The best wins. That is the principle in nutshell of the competition held by the European Space Agency since 2008. For the purposes of the competition, the ISS has on board two credit-card-size AstroPi single board minicomputers. “We had addressed the Military Secondary School in Moravska Trebova with the offer to participate under our supervision and with our support. We considered the occasion a good opportunity to attract the secondary school students to the studies at the Faculty of Military Technology,“ says Lieutenant Colonel Radim Bloudícek describing the beginning of the project he supervised.
To participate in the competition means you can solely use the hardware on ISS board. The AstroPi minicomputer is only completed with a LED matrix display, few buttons, camera, plus three-axis accelerometers and magnetometers. The last two are the devices used by the application. It acquires, records and displays for the ISS crew their data and on that basis it determines the actual position of ISS toward the Earth and its deviation from the ideal circular orbit path, if any. The acquired data will then be sent to the Earth for evaluation. “It would be just perfect if a re-boost engine switched on during measuring, which would reflect in the data,“ describes Lieutenant Bloudicek the potential output. The competition board eventually assess the project final report and compare to other to select the best ones.
The authors of the application are six students from the Moravska Trebova school’s informatics hobby club lead by Richard Cvrkal. The contributors to the project from the University of Defence include, along with Lieutenant Colonel Bloudícek, also First Lieutenant Pavel Dycka who supervised the application development and Captain Lukas Hron who prepared the required hardware, all working for the Aircraft Technology Department.
It is possible to see another benefit from the Mission Space Lab project, in addition to introducing the Faculty of Military Technology to the secondary school students. It refers to the used hardware in the application development. “Today, industries, such as aircraft, hugely use single board computers. Our study plans in the new programme includes topics related to such devices. Besides, we are going to build a laboratory on that platform. Thanks to the Mission Space Lab participation we tested the way of introducing the computers to new students,“ says Radim Bloudícek about the project follow-on appreciation.
Author: Viktor Sliva, photo: Radim Bloudíček