A 1987 Hastings College physics graduate was the Flight Software Integrator for the Juno Spacecraft due to launch aboard the Atlas V-551 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla., in August 2011.
Will Fehringer ’87 of Golden, Colo., was responsible for the flight software telemetry throughout the completion of Juno’s five-year flight to Jupiter to investigate the giant planet’s origin and evolution.
Will is a software engineer for Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver, which built and tested the Juno spacecraft before its trip to Florida in May 2011 to prepare for launch. Will’s work on Juno involved a rigorous environmental testing schedule that simulated all conceivable mission conditions to expose any issues before the craft’s launch into space.
Juno will arrive at Jupiter in July 2016 and orbit the planet for a year before its return to Earth. It will measure how much water is in Jupiter’s atmosphere, which should help determine which planet formation theory is correct, or if new theories are needed, and it will look deep into Jupiter’s atmosphere to measure composition, temperature, cloud motions and other properties.
Fehringer explained how his degree in physics helped his career.
“My case is somewhat unusual in that I don’t have an academic background in software or computer engineering. When I left high school, I had a general interest in science, and physics, to me, touched everything. The spectrum of topics covered in Physics at Hastings College allowed me to adapt over my career and obtain the position I have now,” he said.