Done it! The satellite is orbiting Mercury. Loud cheers in Ground Control Centre. One team is waiting anxiously for the results of the magnetic field data, another for the photos the satellite will be sending back.
But then there is a problem: the data cannot be relayed simultaneously. Now the teams have to work out a solution together. This is one of the tasks in a simulated scenario the students of Aerospace Informatics had to solve with a lecturer from the European Space Agency ESA.
“I like the fact that we often have guest lecturers from the space industry,” says Maria Siegmund. “It gives us an insight into the practicalities.” The simulated scenario described above, for instance, was held in English, the working language in international space projects.
Aerospace Informatics: in Germany, the University of Würzburg is the only university to offer this programme. Its emphasis is on subjects related to space, such as satellite technology. “For me, it is the perfect combination of computer science and engineering,” Oliver Ruf says.
Of course, at the beginning there is a thorough grounding in Maths and Physics, but then soon you are dealing with applications, for instance practical work with hardware, or classes in Electronics, Sensor Technology and Control Engineering.
“The Computer Science building is great, and so is the Hubland campus,” says Pavlo Beylin. The student from Nuremberg has nothing but praise for the design of the building and its facilities. “There is Wi-Fi everwhere, the computer labs are state of the art. And there is plenty of parking space on the Hubland campus,” says Pavlo.
The sense of togetherness among the students, their contact to the professors and the general atmosphere – all these things are good, the three students doing the course agree. “The professors listen to the feedback that we provide.” One result of students’ suggestions is that that their Maths lectures will be even more engineering-oriented in future.
The students like being in Würzburg. “The night life is really great”, says Maria, who comes from Berlin, and she is not being ironical. “Although Würzburg is fairly small compared to Berlin, there are plenty of different things to do. “Just climbing one of the hills in summer and looking down on the town is fantastic,” says Pavlo. Or lying back and enjoying the night sky. You never know. You might spot a satellite.