UMGC Students Helping NASA Astronauts Complete “To Do” Lists in Space

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2020-06-26 13:29:21

On NASA spacewalks next year, astronauts could be guided on their step-by-step tasks by a software program built by University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) students.

Since the fall 2017 semester, a relay of UMGC graduate student teams in SWEN 670—a software engineering capstone course—have worked on a program to streamline the to-do list that guides astronauts’ extravehicular activity (EVA.)

The student project focuses on the virtual checklist that directs astronauts’ every action outside a spacecraft. It is among the multiple projects UMGC students have undertaken for NASA’s consideration.

“The students looked at developing software to help the astronauts as they plan their day or their time. It could be a host of different things, including experiments or just making sure the craft is working properly,” said Michael Brown, program director of UMGC’s Computer Science and Information Technology Department.

James Montalvo, EVA Mission Systems software project manager, said the students built the NASA platform known as Maestro. If the space program moves ahead on scheduled spacewalk efforts, Maestro—with UMGC’s contribution—will be used in spacewalk simulations this fall and by astronauts in an actual spacewalk next year.

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