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Satellite Design by Collaboration

Posted on slashdot is a story about how Students Design A Satellite Via Internet, sharing a news server and having weekly chat sessions. Besides the inherent complexity of designing a working satellite, what stands out is the fact that they did it using relatively old Internet technologies. That just emphasizes for me the fact that it doesn’t really matter how shiny, impressive, and expensive the software/applications available for collaboration among people is. What’s more important, and usually more difficult to accomplish, is getting people to embrace and use tools to get real work done every day.

Coordination between groups is carried out using a dedicated news server and weekly Internet Relay Chats (IRCs) as well as the SSETI website. Face-to-face meetings are the exception rather than the rule, with group representatives meeting every six months for a workshop at ESTEC.