As my boys fill the room with the sounds of rockets and space shuttles blasting off and the chatter of missions to explore outer space, I get to tell you all about my super-cool, rocket-scientist husband’s contribution to the array of spacecraft orbiting our little planet high above us all down here on the surface.
RainCube, a technology demonstration mission, launched in May and was delivered to the International Space Station from which it was set in orbit before deployment a few weeks ago (while we were on vacation, so yeah, there were a LOT of conference calls). My husband was the lead mechanical engineer, responsible for the antenna which deployed (fancy space word for unfolding) out of the CubeSat (smaller, cheaper satellite) enabling the radar to do its job, collecting data to help us understand rain cloud formation. Ultimately, the technology developed by my husband and the team of others at JPL and Tyvak Nanosatellite Systems, Inc. would enable constellations of satellites which means better climate science and weather prediction.
Cool stuff. And from the sideline perspective of all it takes to pull off space missions, I just want to give him a shout out! All those long hours, incredibly tough challenges to overcome, set-backs, intense days…it was pretty cool to see it all come together in a quick, few-second video from the spacecraft feed of a beautifully deploying antenna with an even more breathtaking Earth as a backdrop.
Way to go, honey! Stay tuned for his nail-biting description of what deployment was like along with a link to the stunning video!