Interview with new student leads: Lars and Jacob

Please introduce yourself

Lars:
I was born 23 years ago somewhere around Stuttgart and came to Munich two years ago to study Electrical and Computer Engineering, now in 5th semester. Besides developing CubeSats I enjoy sports like hiking or workouts and rarely also playing piano.

Jacob:
I’m 25 years old, from the province of Manitoba in Canada, and in the 5th semester of my masters in ESPACE (Earth Oriented Space Science and Technology). As for hobbies, I quite like biking outside the city in the more rural areas of Bavaria, and I enjoy repairing things myself which is why I’m also the Hausmeister in my dorm.

How did you come to MOVE?

Lars:
I found out about Move from flyers in May 2019 (“Want to build a real satellite?”) and I wanted to build a real satellite, so I joined the Kickoffs for Move Beyond. I was part of the Electrical Power System for my first year, where I programmed the microcontroller and later became its subsystem leader.

Jacob:
Before MOVE I was the student lead of the DEDRA project, which is now the primary payload for MOVE-III. We began working with MOVE in December 2019, and I stayed as leader of DEDRA Science-Payload after the projects merged.

What is your favourite thing about MOVE?

Lars:
I like the freedom you have with the work and its methods. Everyone helps you, but no one forces you to follow a certain procedure. You have the liberty to pursue your own ideas and you will have many. As soon as you gathered some insight in the development work, you realize how much can be achieved.

Jacob:
The feeling that MOVE is a team, not just a project of students each doing their own thing.

What is your favourite part as student leader?

Lars:
The responsibility for the mission and for the project, that comes with it. Like everyone in the team we want this mission to succeed and the development to progress. But suddenly we are responsible for all the systems to work and to talk with everyone to get it done.

Jacob:
Seeing the total project progression, and all the hard work that goes into it. It’s really motivating to see how dedicated students are, and every week I can see how the project is progressing towards our MOVE-III goal. It’s also amazing to meet and work with so many talented people in this project.

What is your vision for MOVE for the next months and years? How do you think, the big changes in the structure help the project?

Both:
We changed the teams from small system-based groups to bigger discipline-oriented groups. People working with the same tools can now receive answers and feedback much easier than before. We are also more flexible with new members coming and old members going. Team leaders can effortlessly shift the tasks, so that new people are not overwhelmed, but the old tasks are still worked on. And additionally, it increases the time worked on the satellite by reducing the time spent in meetings.

In future we like to create new partnerships with the industry. This way we can exchange even more knowledge, get more reviews and feedbacks, and provide every member with a foot in the door of possible employers.

What else is going to change at MOVE under your supervision?

Both:
We want to focus more on documentation and knowledge-management. There are tasks, that every new member must do when joining MOVE. But also, not every group has to create guides on their own. We want to make the introduction of new people as easy as possible, for them and their group leaders.
Additionally we do not want to lose knowledge just because it was not documented. Many people come and go, but the research they did, should not be done twice.

What would you say to students who are thinking about join the project?

Lars:
I would tell them, that it´s an amazing opportunity, because you can
• apply theoretical knowledge gathered from lectures,
• work with industry-standard tools and methods,
• earn credits by writing you thesis or doing an internship,
• cooperate with an amazing, highly motivated team,
• say in 2022, that something you worked hard on is now in space!

Jacob:
Firstly, it doesn’t matter how much or little you think you know, it really matters how hard and passionately you work. This is true for joining MOVE or applying for jobs. MOVE is here to teach and provide hands-on experience to students, so don’t worry about not knowing what to do. We are students, not industry professionals, so its okay to make mistakes, try new things, and learn what you like. And at the end of the day, industry likes to see more than just good grades, because projects like MOVE show initiative, team skills, and practical experience.

To what are you looking forward to in regard of MOVE?

Lars:
I am looking forward to seeing all members in person and the satellite in action when we will launch the balloon next year.

Jacob:
Seeing the development and growth of all students, their ideas for MOVE, and of course the technology they develop. I’m excited to look back in months and see the progression of everyone towards this goal of a MOVE-III mission.

During this time when not all students can come to the chair to work, what are your plans to keep people motivated? More stickers?

Lars:
Stickers, chocolate, and zoom games were my first ideas. But I think what motivates people the most is to see some results, especially in this online semester. We are many enthusiastic students doing amazing work and we have already achieved a lot, even though many results are not that visible. That is why we want to have balloon-ready hardware by the end of this year.

Jacob:
Workshops, more interactive meetings, and more updates so everyone can see how their hard work is paying off for the mission development. The workshops are also being scheduled so that students get the most out of their time with MOVE, and learn things that they may otherwise not get from their courses.