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GSOC-19 starts!

By Jorge Martínez Garrido

From my first pull request to GSOC student

Hi, my name is Jorge, and I am one of the selected students for this GSOC edition at poliastro under the OpenAstronomy organization. I started working on poliastro project after Juanlu came to my university to give a talk about Open Source software in engineering.

After forking poliastro, I decided to improve API Docs, which gave me an overview on how the project was built and how the different modules talked among them. I had no idea on how Git and GitHub worked and therefore, when finished with the docs my first pull request was quite massive...

But after that I started feeling more confortable with GitHub and Sphinx, the tool used nowadays in poliastro for building documentation. Then, I decided to work on a porkchop plotter.

I spent the week after taking my final exams with the porkchop plotter. Reading lots of blogs, posts and others on how to plot contours in Python, vectorize functions... But finally, I was able to code the plotting utility and it was included in poliastro.

GSOC acceptance and first ideas

After being accepted at GSOC I have received a lot of emails, comming either from Google, OpenAstronomy and poliastro. We need to regulary meet our tutors or at least be in contact with them, so everyone knows how things are evolving.

Yesterday I talked with Juanlu about the main goals for this Summer of Code. My objective during the first weeks of coding phase will be the development of a propagation algorithm capable of working with all possible orbits, no matter their eccentricity.

This would be amazing, since no integrators would be needed for near parabolic orbits where numerical methods start failing. The algorithm that we expect to solve for this is the one developed by Gauss.

My plans for this summer in poliastro

Previous algorithm is just one of many utilities I am expected to code all along this summer. Although most of them are related to numerical methods and inegrators, others dealt with:

  • Plotting utilities such us a groundtrack plotter.
  • Orbit determination and TLE retreival from Celestrack.
  • Atmospheric models.
  • Rendezvous maneuvers and low-thrust guidance.

At this moment, there are two main important core issues that I would like to solve before first GSOC evaluation:

  • Gauss propagator for any kind of orbit.
  • Solar-system and Earth-Moon barycenters implementations.

I am still thinking how to approach the second one and this will need another talk with Juanlu, for sure. But for the moment, I will focus on my final exams.

Can't wait to start the coding phase!