A team of students has been working on this project for more than two years now, and we are ever expanding to include new members from diverse backgrounds.
The overall team is divided into different sub teams that will work together to make this launch a success. The Orbits, Launch and Propulsion team is responsible for determining what orbit we will launch into and how the time capsule will arrive in that orbit. The Bus, Power and Payload team is creating the physical time capsule and utilizing cutting edge technology to understand how to shrink data into its most minute form. Currently there are two aspects to the payload team: a DNA experiment and conducting roughly 1,000 interviews from throughout the U of M community to be put on the time capsule. Lastly, the Tracking team is in charge of figuring out how we will track the time capsule in space after it has been launched and know when to bring it back down. The Marketing team is working to spread the word about this amazing project to as many people as possible.
As a multidisciplinary project, the time capsule is intended to represent everyone involved with the University of Michigan—students, faculty, and staff. It is our desire to share the multitude of individual narratives that collectively make up the heart of this University. Our goal is to preserve these narratives in space for 100 years to leave an unparalleled legacy for future generations.
Hashmita Koka, Project Lead
Hashmita Koka recently graduated with a Master's Degree in Aerospace Engineering and a focus in Gas Dynamics from the University of Michigan, where she also received a Bachelor's Degree in Aerospace Engineering. She is the Project Lead of M-BARC and has been working on this project since Summer 2016. She has previously led the Propulsion and Tracking sub-teams on M-BARC. She is also a part of the AIAA Michigan Chapter through the Outreach Committee and has helped organize Aerospace Day STEM outreach activities for the Aerospace Department. She was a GSI for Aero 405 and previously the Project Manager of MBuRST, a member of the S3FL Executive Committee and a part of the Aerospace Centennial Committee. In her free time, Hashmita enjoys traveling, learning new languages and kickboxing.
Connor Bluhm, Team Lead
Connor is currently a Master’s student in Space Systems Engineering at UM with a Bachelor’s in
Aerospace Engineering from Virginia Tech. He’s worked on M-BARC since Fall 2016, starting out on the
team exploring options for propulsion and then moving to optical tracking analysis of the satellite. He’s
now moved to team lead in this final semester and is excited to see the team’s effort come together in a
real satellite. Outside of engineering, he plays viola in the campus orchestra, and piano in his apartment.
Aakar Mehul Sheth, Bus Lead
Aakar is currently a graduate student in the ECE department at the University of Michigan and is the Bus Lead, which includes the EPS and CDH subsystems of this project. He is also leading nano-fabrication for the payload team. Aakar's background is mainly associated with Systems (Power & Control) and it's applications. Having been associated with various prestigious projects back in his home country India, Aakar has brought a great level of exposure & perspective in exploring new ideas for the project. Moreover, he has been a part of various e-lite panels who are associated with various path breaking technologies on the basis of which he has various Publications & papers to his name in the field of Controls & Power. Aakar, is also a 'Student Ambassador' for the ECE department at the University of Michigan.In his free time, Aakar likes to study entrepreneurship, as he aspires to be an entrepreneur one day. He enjoys reading books and listening to talks by successful entrepreneurs who share their unique perspectives.
Eishaan Gakhar, Structures Lead
Eishaan is currently a graduate student at the University of Michigan, and the team lead for structures of the M-BARC project. Eishaan's background is associated with design and manufacturing. He brings a great level of experience in design based on his knowledge on manufacturing processes acquired while working in a robotics lab at the University of Texas at Austin and classes taken at the University of Michigan. In his free time, Eishaan likes playing and watching cricket. He also loves traveling, exploring new places and cultures, and playing computer games with friends.
Weiyau Tee, Systems Engineer
Weiyau is a Masters student and is currently working as the systems engineer in the DSM-BARC mission. Having completed his undergraduate studies in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan, he realized independency of design and manufacturing. This motivated him to pursue a Masters degree in manufacturing and specializing in manufacturing design and sustainability. He is currently completing his practicum for his Masters degree. In addition, he is deeply fascinated with ancient history and enjoys traveling to historical sites around the world. During his free time, Weiyau finds joy in lifting heavy things up only to put them back down.
Aaron Ridley, Faculty Lead
Aaron Ridley is a professor in the Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering department at the University of Michigan. His main area of research is modeling the near-Earth space environment, having developed several models that describe the phenomena such as the aurora and how the aurora causes the atmosphere to change and alter the orbits of satellites.
He has been the principal investigator of several CubeSat missions that have been built at the University of Michigan and is the Constellation Scientist for the CYGNSS mission that is measuring wind speeds in hurricanes. He is the faculty advisor for the College of Engineering Honors Program. Professor Ridley teaches classes on satellite mission design, rocket science, space instrumentation, and the upper atmosphere. He has several blogs, a podcast, and is an avid photographer.
Thomas Zurbuchen, Faculty Lead
Thomas Zurbuchen is a professor of Space Science and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan. From 2009 to 2015, he served as the UM Associate Dean of Entrepreneurial Programs in the College of Engineering, and from 2012 to 2015 he was the Senior Counselor for Entrepreneurial Education. Prof. Zurbuchen was the founding director of the University of Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship. He serves on the boards of three small companies and non-profits. In 2013, Zurbuchen was appointed by Michigan Gov. Snyder to the Northern Michigan University’s Board of Trustees. He has been at the University of Michigan for more than 20 years.
Zurbuchen, who holds a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Bern, Switzerland, received numerous awards, including the prestigious US Presidential Early Career Award, which represents the highest honor by the US government for early career scientists and engineers. Zurbuchen, a specialist in the robotic exploration of space, served as team leader for the development of NASA’s Fast Imaging Plasma Spectrometer, an instrument that was part of the MESSENGER spacecraft, which orbited Mercury from 2011 to 2015. His team is actively involved in the development of a new space instrument, and is responsible for five such instruments currently in flight.
Zurbuchen also has a long record of service as a chair and member of committees advising NASA, NSF and the DOL. He served on several committees of the National Academies, mostly focused on Space Research and Innovation. He has also testified before Congress on research topics, educational issues, and export control.