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Awarded Excellent lecture as Orbital dynamics programming

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  • Registration Date : 2018-03-02
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Reflections on Teaching

Awarded Excellent lecture as Orbital dynamics programming

Professor and Senior Researcher Kim Hae-dong of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) Campus

Professor Kim Hae-dong of the UST KARI Campus (left) and graduate researcher Seong Jae-dong

We had lots of questions for Professor and Senior Researcher Kim Hae-dong of the University of Science and Technology (UST) KARI Campus. The secret to receiving the best lecture award for a researcher in a government-funded research institute, the career paths of the graduates he taught, the relationship between him and his students, the difficulties he encountered while managing both research and teaching, and so on… But when we met the “space debris doctorate,” we wanted an answer to our biggest curiosity. So our first questions were, “Where will the Tiangong-1 fall?” and “Is it really dangerous?”

Professor Kim said “Do not worry” calmly with smile, as if he already expected these questions.

“The Chinese space station Tiangong-1 weighs about 8.5 tons. As pieces of it pass through the atmosphere, most of them will burn and disappear. Some debris can crash into the earth, but it is extremely unlikely that they will hurt people. We can say that the odds of being hit by space debris are lower than the chance of being hit by lightning twice in a day. Don't worry too much.”

Experts estimate that the odds of people being hit by debris from Tiangong-1 is one in a trillion. Moreover, the path of the Tiangong-1 is being monitored in real time all over the world. Also, an expert group in Korea led by the government is monitoring it. The figure at its center is Professor Kim.

Professor Kim Hae-dong and researcher Seong Jae-dong look at “KARISMA,” a software program that they developed.

First Doctorate Graduate was a Student who Participated in Developing KARISMA

Professor Kim, space debris, and the UST have a special relationship. KARI developed “KARISMA,” software that analyzes and responds to the risk of collision with space debris, in 2014 and started its operation in earnest to safely protect our satellites.

Professor Kim was the senior researcher in the development of this system. He and KARI researchers completed KARISMA after several years of effort. There is another unknown hero in this process. He is researcher Seong Jae-dong, who was working on his doctorate at UST at the time. Professor Kim introduced the Seong, who was his student then and is now his junior colleague.

“He was the first student from UST to work on a doctorate degree on the KARI campus. I was his adviser. And he is the only graduate I turned out from the doctorate course. It took about 5 years to complete KARISMA, and Dr. Seong played a key role. He got the doctorate degree while participating in the development of KARISMA and has been working on its actual operation since graduation. So, it can be said that he is a student who best suits the characteristics and purpose of UST.”

Seong is now a post-doctoral researcher on the low earth orbit satellite control team of KARI. As Professor Kim said, he made a meaningful achievement by participating in the actual research project during his doctorate course and works in the research field that actually uses the results after graduation. Researcher Seong emphasized that it was all thanks to the devoted teaching of Professor Kim.

“I could obtain hands-on competence by participating in the project where Professor Kim assumed the senior researcher role, as well as his theory classes. Also, I could get a doctorate while carrying out the project. It was the best choice for me to enter UST to get a doctorate after completing the master’s course.”

Professor Kim Hae-dong explains space debris on a TV program.

The CEO of a Company that a Graduate Joined said “Thanks for Teaching Well”

Professor Kim, who is the manager of the IT Convergence Technology Team in KARI, has been teaching students in UST since 2009. He has turned out six graduates, including Seong, so far. Most of them have gone into the aerospace industry and now fully exert the competence they gained from him.

One of these graduates is working as a post-master researcher in the Agency for Defense Development (ADD). Another one joined as a post-doc in the Satellite Technology Research Lab (SaRTec) of KAIST. And other graduates entered private companies such as Satrec Initiative and SOLETOP as permanent employees. In particular, Professor Kim received a message from the CEO of Satrec Initiative that said “Thanks for teaching your student well and sending the student to our company.”

Professor Kim now teaches four students, one for a doctorate and three for a master’s degree. It is not easy for him to teach that many students while working as the KARI IT Convergence Technology Team manager. However, the number of students who hope to learn from him seldom decreases, probably through word-of-mouth. He is a popular professor. Nevertheless, Professor Kim expresses his gratitude to the students.

“Although I have received expressions of thanks from graduates and the CEO of a company a graduate entered, I guess I should thank the students. That’s because they not only study in KARI, but also carry out project tasks like researchers. Also, they play a critical role in making great performances and deducing excellent results in projects tasks. They do play the role of researchers, beyond being students who just complete a degree.”

Professor is explains the ultra-small satellite he is developing with students in UST.

UST Best Lecture Award Given for Classes that Combine Theory and Practice

The project that Professor Kim has recently been focusing on is an ultra-small satellite. He already completed manufacturing the first one and started the development of the second on last year. The satellite, which is being developed by a team led by Professor Kim, is the size of six Cubesats and is 10 cm in width, length, and height, and weighs about 10 kg.

But you cannot look down on it because it is small. In the case of the first satellite, it boasts color video with a resolution of 5 m. You can understand how great its performance is if you compare it with the Arirang-1, whose resolution is 6.6 m. Moreover, the development cost of the Arirang-1 was about KRW 230 billion, while this satellite cost only KRW 2 billion. The second one that is currently being developed is for a space rendezvous and docking test. UST students under Professor Kim are also participating in the development of this satellite.

Professor Kim received the UST best lecture award in 2017. He gives lectures where students design and analyze software after receiving theory lectures on satellite orbital dynamics. The lectures are so popular that KAIST students also take the class. Professor Kim always stresses to students to have the attitude of engineers, as well as the competence that can be applied immediately to the industry field. That is also why students like his teaching and classes.

They have to have a different mindset from the students in general graduate schools who just write a paper and get a degree.
The students in UST should use the competence they learned in research immediately in the research field.
They are half graduate students and half researchers. They also know that themselves better than anyone. That is why they have a strong sense of responsibility. I think that is the power of UST.