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PDS ThinSat Program: Student Team Meets with Princeton University Mentor Michael B. Galvin
PDS ThinSat Program: Student Team Meets with Princeton University Mentor Michael B. Galvin

Above, PDS ThinSat Program students at first meeting with Princeton University mentor and PDS faculty team. Below, ThinSat Chief Computer Scientist Dr. Theodor Brasoveanu, ThinSat Chief Scientist Alana Allen and ThinSat Chief Engineer Jonathan Tatkon-Coker with Princeton University's Michael B. Galvin, Senior Technical Support and Mechanical Engineer, who led Wednesday's meeting.


First meeting focuses on satellite data-retrieval payload development

Last week, STEAM Coordinator Jonathan Tatkon-Coker confirmed the Upper School students selected by application to participate in PDS ThinSat, the exciting new Princeton University-Princeton Day School partnership. The PDS ThinSat Program is a distinctive engineering- and math-focused co-curricular offering for Upper School students that will culminate in a November 2019 launch of ThinSat satellites at the Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's eastern shore. Twiggs Spacelab will integrate the PDS satellites into the Wallops Flight Facility's launch mission, and students will collect their own satellites' real-time data from orbit.

As they develop their satellites for launch and space flight, the PDS ThinSat student teams will be mentored through weekly meetings with the Princeton University ThinSat Team and PDS ThinSAT Program faculty. On Wednesday, the students attended their first meeting with the lead mentor for the Princeton University team, Michael B. Galvin, Senior Technical Support and Mechanical Engineer in Princeton's Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering department.

Galvin led the meeting, joining the PDS faculty team overseeing the ThinSat program: Jonathan Tatkon-Coker, ThinSat Chief Engineer Jonathan Tatkcon-Coker, Chief Scientist Alana Allen and Chief Computer Scientist Dr. Theodor Brasoveanu.

"Mike's guidance adds so much value to the PDS ThinSat student experience," Tatkon-Coker explains, adding that Galvin, who spearheaded the development of the partnership for Princeton University, has been a key resource in Tatkon-Coker's development of the student-led, team-based PDS ThinSat Program. The grant that funds the partnership brings unprecedented mission assistance and expertise to the group's satellite endeavors; partnership collaborators in addition to Princeton University, Twiggs and Wallops include Virginia Space, NASA, Orbital ATK, NearSpace Launch, Inc., XinaBox, and even the US Navy and Coast Guard.

"We're truly excited to be setting out with an exceptional group of talented and aspiring students who are ready for the challenges and the commitment required of this year-plus undertaking," Tatkon-Coker remarked. "At our kick-off meeting," he continued, "Mike shared a tremendous amount of perspective, detail, schematics and satellite data to engage the team about many of the factors they will need to consider as they begin to build their satellites and determine their data-retrieval payloads."

Congratulations to the following students on being selected for and participating in the PDS ThinSat program:

Benjamin Bigdelle '21

Matan Blitz '21

Thomas Bocian '20

Amon DeVane '19

Evan Dries '20

Armaan Dugar '20

Walter Emann '19

Fechi Inyama '20

William Morrison '21

Yash Pazhianur '21

Kyle Ready '19

Aaliyah Sayed '21

Justin Sherman '20

Om Suchak '21

Megha Thomas '20

Krithika Vasireddy '20

Arthur Zhu '21