Code goes out of this world
Six years ago, a now-Red Deer resident and software was hard at work, writing computer code for the recently-launched Canadian satellite Cassiope.
Arthur Crozier, who now works for Alberta Health Services in Red Deer, was one of seven software developers who worked on the satellite that was launched into space on Sept. 29.
For two and a half years he worked with a team at Magellan Aerospace in Winnipeg. The satellite was being developed alongside the rocket that would send it into space, but the work on the satellite wrapped up a few years before the rocket was done leaving six years to wait for Cassiope to enter orbit.
“It was fabulous to work with space engineers at Magellan as well as working with the Canadian Space Agency engineers and scientists,” said Crozier. “It was very rewarding because you were dealing with people who have a common goal and they really have a passion about what they do.”
He said they make sure every part of the development of the satellite is documented and tested repeatedly.
Cassiope’s main goal is to focus on the interaction between the ionosphere and the sun.
Part of this includes the effect solar storms have on radio communications, satellite navigation and other ground-based technologies.
Specifically, Crozier was pleased with the thoroughness of his co-workers. Their attention to detail is required because of the scale of the project.
“Once the satellite is in space you don’t have the option to go fix it,” said Crozier.
Crozier’s part in the Cassiope satellite was the programming of the software related to the interface between eight of the nine instruments on the satellite and the satellite proper.
Being so far removed from working on the project, Crozier hadn’t even realized the satellite had gone up.
“I just happened to surf the web and came across it by accident,” said Crozier, adding while he didn’t watch the launch live he went back and watched the footage of it.
“I did one part of a whole system. I’m just hoping my stuff works great, everything works great and that the science it generates will be a benefit for everyone.”
His background is in electronic technology, aircraft mechanics and software development. In the past he has worked in the aerospace industry and this fusion of aerospace and software programming made for a happy fit.